Source: Author

Firefly (Cicada #2) by Belle Whittington (Mini Book Review)

Posted April 3, 2013 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 2 Comments

Firefly (Cicada #2) by Belle Whittington (Mini Book Review)Firefly by Belle Whittington
Series: Cicada #2
Published by Self on February 2, 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 510
Format: eBook
Source: Author
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3.5 Stars

“The darkest days are ahead of us,” Andrew whispered as the drape of shadows slipped away, allowing Blair to awaken. And in her heart of hearts she knew it was true. The unmistakable signs were all around her, growing within her. She was becoming something more than human. All she could do was accept the inevitable.

“I’ve become a freak … an alien. I no longer belong to the human world,” Blair told her true love, and he held her close, determined never to give her up.

“I’d stay in this darkness forever as long as I could be with you. Wherever you are … that’s my home.” Everett meant every word. In fact, he’d willingly give up his own life to protect the girl he’d always loved.

But there was a storm brewing … a firestorm so strong and catastrophic that it could keep them apart forever.

That storm roared into town wearing a brown leather bomber jacket and riding a motorcycle.

Ash was like a secret in human clothing … a dangerous secret. Everything about him was mesmerizing – right down to the swirls of ink that flowed over the smooth muscles across his chest and around his arms. Being with him was like playing with fire.

Blair knew all about playing with fire.

She knew something else, too. A small quiet voice deep within whispered that she really would be separated from everyone and everything she’d known and loved.

Because some secrets run too deep.

Welcome to my stop along Belle Whittington’s Firefly blog tour, hosted by Books and Broomsticks! I’m pleased to be a part of the festivities, and add my review to the pile of reviews, guest posts, and interviews. If you’re new to the series, check out my review of Cicada, book #1.

I had been anticipating Firefly after really enjoying Cicada last year, so I was delighted when I was invited to join the tour! Firefly is an exciting new installment in the trilogy, and did answer some of the questions we were left with at the end of Cicada. I’m going to try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible, but it’s going to be tricky because SO MUCH HAPPENED in this book!

Firefly picks up right where Cicada left off, and Belle gives the reader just enough information about Cicada to stir their memory, but not so much that it feels like we’re being told the same story all over again. Everett, Blair’s boyfriend, and Andrew, Blair’s brother, are not in this book as much as they were before, and I missed them! You might remember me gushing over both of them in my review of Cicada. They were off discovering themselves, though, and learning what was necessary to add their pieces to this crazy puzzle they are involved in. We did get to see them some, and they ended up being exactly where they needed to be at exactly the right time. And with their absence, we are introduced to a little telepathy and dream traveling, which was a really cool addition to their (and Blair’s) mysterious abilities. I still really adore Andrew. I wish I had him as my older brother!

The love triangle is introduced in this book, with Mr. swoony-Ash. I started out liking him, but as he got more possessive and stalkerish, I was definitely glad that Everett was still the amazingly loyal and sweet former nerd I loved in the first book. I had a lot of fun watching him morph into this new version of himself. Bug boy to bad boy, if you will. One aspect of the love story left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. This book seemed to be a lot more sappy and lovey-dovey than the last one. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love love stories. I eat love stories for dinner AND dessert. I just felt like this one was almost Disney princess sappy, though, with Blair pining away for her “true love” countless numbers of time. She could not handle having Everett gone, and she moped and complained a little too much for me. And when she did see him, she spent more time climbing into his lap than talking to him. It made Blair seem weak, and with the role she has in this book, you would expect her to be anything but.

I really enjoyed Blair’s transformation into something less than human. I also liked the history behind why all of this is happening to her. And I really liked watching her experience all these changes and new abilities. A lot of magic and mystery surrounds her, and it was fun discovering who she is right along with her. I loved her relationship with her mom and her grandparents. It’s refreshing to see such strong family bonds in young adult literature.

There’s a twist that we find out about partway through the book regarding Blair’s memory of the past, and I loved that twist. I swear, the creativity behind this trilogy is amazing. I love the unique take on aliens and other worlds. I also really like Belle’s writing style and attention to detail, even though there were several typos throughout the book. There are some gorgeous passages that I actually re-read, involving dreams, galaxies, and even descriptions of the changing seasons. You can tell Belle is very talented, and is extremely invested in her books. I’m really excited to see where the next book goes, as yet again, I’m left with a lot of questions!

Disclaimer: About a quarter of the way through the book, something happens that upset me a great deal, to the point where I almost DNF’d the book. It involves the mutilation of a beloved animal. As many of you know, I’m very against this theme in books. I wrote to Belle and her daughter, the tour host, and explained my feelings. I was informed that this is actually a common practice among alien hoaxes and crop circles. Once I learned this, I was still horrified, but it was easier on me knowing that this aspect of the story is based on true events, rather than a creative author. I appreciated the explanation, and thought I would mention it here in my review to help soften the blow on other sensitive readers. I’d like to thank Linda for explaining this to me.

 

 

3.5 Stars

The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson (Mini Book Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway)

Posted October 8, 2012 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Guest Post / 2 Comments

The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson (Mini Book Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway)The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Renee Anderson
Published by HEA Publishing on September 8, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 300
Format: eBook
Source: Author
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4 Stars

Luke Carney has no idea what possessed him to move back to Shelter Springs, Colorado, to set up his veterinarian practice. His parents have long since left, the small farming community is on the brink of extinction, and only one close friend from his childhood remains--Taycee Emerson, his best friend’s little sister, who isn’t so little anymore.

Then there’s the matter of Shelter’s Bachelorette, an online reality dating show created to raise some much needed funds for the town.

Unwittingly cast as the bachelorette, Taycee wants out, especially when she discovers that Luke, her childhood crush, is back in town and will be one of the bachelors. To make matters worse, it's up to the viewers--not her--to decide which bachelors stay or go. And they all seem to like Luke.

Unwilling to let him break her heart again, Taycee launches a subtle attack on Luke’s good name with the hope of getting him voted off the show. But she’d forgotten that Luke's an eye-for-an-eye kind of guy, and when he discovers what she's up to, it means revenge.

I’m ready and willing to admit that I love The Bachelor and the Bachelorette. These shows make Mondays worth having. I know they are totally silly and the couples pretty much never stay together, but I don’t care! I even watch the show if I really REALLY dislike the people. It’s pure entertainment, and I love the drama. So, of course I was excited to read The Reluctant Bachelorette! It was a cute, cheesy read. Sometimes cheese is what you need. :)

Taycee was a likeable lead, and I really liked Luke. They are an adorable couple, and I enjoyed reading about the development of their relationship. I liked the idea behind the show: raising money for charity. I thought it was a fun way to raise money, and I would love to be in Taycee’s shoes! Give me 20 guys to date, and I’m all for it. The only thing that bothered me about this particular group of guys is that most of them were even likeable. I really felt for Taycee and laughed to myself as she went on some pretty bad dates, just because I’ve totally been there! There were a few I liked, though, and I had fun reading about those dates. There was also quite a bit of secrecy and drama, which I ate up.

Luke is my dream guy. I’d love to date him, and I loved reading about his and Taycee’s romance. One of my favorite scenes was when they went star gazing. I did that with a guy one time. He gave me his jacket, and we drove up into the mountains and the sky was on fire. He put his arms around me and rested his chin on my head as we watched the stars and whispered about random stuff. The scene in this book brought me back to that moment, and I totally remember feeling twitterpated and giddy like they did. It was a sweet moment. :) I also love when they spent the day at the swimming hole. So romantic!

This book is so happy and sweet! It’s one of those simple romantic contemporaries where everything makes you smile. Oh, and the ending… I got teary-eyed! This book had a downright amazing ending. We all need books like this. There was a lot of fluff, mixed in with some more serious issues that kept the story grounded. I liked the main characters, and even a few of the supporting ones.

Last of all, I really appreciate the clean content of this book. There was no steam, smut, or bad language, yet it was still sweet and romantic. Romance is possible without a bed in play, and Rachael did a great job proving that. Read on for her guest post on this exact topic of discussion.

The Author: Rachael Anderson
(Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog)

“I love to read, write, and do most anything outdoors, with the exception of rock climbing and sky diving. (I have serious height phobias.) If there’s something I can do within five feet of solid ground, count me in!”

Keeping it Clean for a Reason

I write unapologetic clean romance, and I always will. My favorite part of any love story is the falling in love part–all of the stuff that happens before sex. There’s something magical and special about that time, and for me, it’s the most romantic part. Take Pride and Prejudice, for example–the most beloved of all love stories. Jane Austin took two strangers, gave them a reason to think less of the other from the get-go, and then let the respect, friendship, attraction, and love grow from there. By the end of the book, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Mr. Darcy and Lizzy had so much more than chemistry. They had something real and lasting and sigh-worthy. And Jane Austin did it all without sex. They didn’t even kiss until the end of the book.

Yes, I realize the contemporary world we live in is a different place. In the movies and so many books these days, people meet, kiss, and fall into bed together in the blink of an eye. It makes me sad, because not only do I NOT want to read (or let my children read) about two characters having sex, but I feel like those writers clicked fast-forward on the most beautiful moments in any love story. I come away feeling shorted.

For me, true romance is in the initial connection, friendship, giddiness, excitement, noticing, frustration, fear, and insecurity. It’s in the first look, first touch, first kiss. It’s in the development of something real, something deep, and something lasting.  By the end of any book I write, I want my readers to know, without a doubt, that those two characters are a perfect fit, in more ways than just chemistry. That regardless of what comes their way, they will stay together for always. That’s the best kind of happily ever after there is.

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4 Stars

Thorns (Frost Chronicles #2) by Kate Avery Ellison (Book Review)

Posted September 28, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 0 Comments

Thorns (Frost Chronicles #2) by Kate Avery Ellison (Book Review)Thorns by Kate Avery Ellison
Series: Frost Chronicles #2
Published by CreateSpace on September 6, 2012
Genres: Dystopia, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Author
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5 Stars

Lia Weaver went against everything she’d ever known when she risked her life to help a Farther fugitive named Gabe escape from the Aeralian soldiers, and her life changed forever. And the Frost changed, too—the Farthers have taken over her village, a new group of vigilantes calling themselves the Blackcoats are making plans to overthrow the Farther occupiers, and the Thorns are seeking for her to join them.

Lia seeks to fight back against the evil and injustice that has swallowed up her home, but danger lurks at every turn. The monsters that dwell in the deepest regions of the Frost are growing bolder and more dangerous every day, a Farther noble takes up residence in the village on a mysterious mission, and Lia discovers that her parents were harboring even more secrets.

As the frozen world of the Frost grows even more perilous, can Lia survive?

I absolutely loved Frost, the first book in this series, so I was extremely excited when Kate contacted me and asked if I would like to review the sequel! I did not even know it was out yet, which is just nuts because I have been thinking about that book for months. Thorns did not disappoint, and surely did not fall victim of the “second book syndrome” as I like to call it. So often second books are pointless bridges to the concluding book. Thorns was SO not that, though. I really enjoyed reading it, and am even more excited for the next one! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Just like in Frost, I love the setting of this book! The Frost is the coldest place I’ve ever read about, and I loved curling up under my covers and reading about it. Not a lot of books are set in a place like this one, and it’s just freezing, snowy, sparkly, magical place. 

2. Kate’s writing is still absolutely beautiful. Her descriptions of the scenery, the weather, the tense moments, and the simple sweet times are flawless. I could not stop reading.

3. Like I said before, this story is not one of those worthless second novels that authors write because they feel like they absolutely have to write a trilogy. This book gives us so much more information on the underlying mystery of the Thorns and the Farthers, and sets us up for a really awesome third novel.

4. In the last book, I really liked Gabe. Like A LOT. But since Lia helped him escape he was not in this book at all. So now… Adam Brewer… the guy I didn’t think a lot about, is this really mysterious, brave, swoonworthy lead! The romance is minimal, but there’s definitely some tension there. And because there’s no insta-love, that achy tension is extremely believable. I think I’m team Adam now, but I’m torn at the same time!

5. I kind of like that in this book we get to see Lia as more vulnerable and human. In Frost, she was rather emotionless, hardened, and skeptical. She just kept to herself and took life as it came. I think Gabe coming into her life softened her up a bit to the potential of love and also made her think about the life that she wants to be living. Overall, I think he challenged her to go against the rules and fight for what’s right. I enjoyed this change in her a lot. She became more relatable, but not so worn down that she got annoying.

6. I loved all the secrecy and sneaking around that Lia and Adam did as part of the Thorns. There were still some crazy suspenseful moments and a little danger. It was very exciting.

7. I also really loved that Kate gave us enough info to remind us what happened in the first book, but not too much that I felt like I was reading the first book all over again.

Overall, I loved this book just as much as the first one, but for different reasons. Rather than romance, this one focused on secrecy and rebellion. The details and descriptions are gorgeous as ever. I do think Kate is gaining a fan for life. I’m convinced now that I will love anything she writes.

5 Stars

Fall for You by Cecilia Gray (Mini Review)

Posted September 19, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 4 Comments

Fall for You by Cecilia Gray (Mini Review)Fall for You by Cecilia Gray
Series: Jane Austen Academy #1
Published by The Alpha Division on February 10, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Retelling, Romance
Pages: 128
Format: eBook
Source: Author
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2 Stars

To say Lizzie and Dante are polar opposites is the understatement of the century. He's a snooty Exeter transfer with more money than Google. She's a driven study-a-holic barely keeping up with tuition. It's obvious that Dante thinks he's way too good for Lizzie. And Lizzie knows Dante is a snob with a gift for pushing her buttons.

But things are changing fast this year at the Academy. And when Lizzie's quest to stop those changes blows up in her face, taking her oldest friendship with it, she has nowhere else to turn but to Dante, with his killer blue eyes, his crazy-sexy smile, and his secrets... Secrets Lizzie can't seem to leave alone, no matter how hard she tries...

I absolutely love Jane Austen-esque novels, so I was quite excited to read this book. While the story is light and cute, and it started off promising, there just wasn’t much to it for me. It was a very quick read, so none of the characters were extremely developed or all that memorable. The writing itself was fine, but the plot line was not strong enough for me either.

I didn’t like Lizzie very much. She came off as being mean and rather annoying. The investigative journalist aspect of her character kind of bothered me, just because I’m not a huge fan of books with this angle. It turned her into a nosy girl, shoving her way into everything. The romance was not believable, and was kind of all over the place. And… I kind of hated the school’s nickname: Jasta. I know that’s a really silly thing to dislike, but it just bugged me!

I think this all boils down to the fact that the story takes place in a boarding school, which I rarely enjoy about a book. Most boarding school characters a stuck-up and arrogant, and I really dislike reading about people like that. Also, it was short but still had a lot to cover. If there had been an extra 50-100 pages, I’m not necessarily sure I would have liked the book more, but it would have been a more solid foundation for the rest of the series. While I won’t be continuing on with this series, I would encourage Jane Austen fans to give this a try if they are looking for a quick fix. I’ve seen a lot of raving reviews for Fall for You, so maybe you’d feel differently about it than I do!

2 Stars

Frost by Kate Avery Ellison (Book Review and Giveaway)

Posted July 23, 2012 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult Fiction / 12 Comments

Frost by Kate Avery Ellison (Book Review and Giveaway)Frost by Kate Avery Ellison
Series: Frost Chronicles #1
Published by CreateSpace on April 18, 2012
Genres: Dystopia, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 194
Format: eBook
Source: Author
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5 Stars

In the icy, monster-plagued world of the Frost, compassion might get a person killed, and Lia Weaver knows this better than anyone. After the monsters kill her parents, she must keep the family farm running or risk losing her siblings to reassignment by the village Elders. With dangers on all sides, she can't afford to let her emotions lead her astray. But when her sister finds a fugitive bleeding to death in the forest, a young man from beyond the Frost named Gabe, Lia does the unthinkable. She saves his life.

Giving shelter to the fugitive could get her in trouble. The Elders have always described the advanced society of people beyond the Frost, the "Farthers," as ruthless and cruel. Lia is startled to find that Gabe is empathetic and intelligent-and handsome. And she might even be falling for him.

But time is running out. The monsters in the forest are growing bold and restless. The village leader is starting to ask questions. Farther soldiers are searching for Gabe. Is compassion-and love-worth the risk?

Welcome to my stop along the official blog tour for Frost by Kate Avery Ellison, hosted by AToMR Tours! I’m quite excited to tell you what I thought about this book! Basically, I loved it, and I was surprised that I loved it, just because I’d never heard of it book before I was given the opportunity to be a part of the tour. I am SO glad I got to read it! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. When I say this book is refreshing, I’m being extremely literal. This is such a great read for a hot summer day, because this book takes place in probably the coldest place ever: The Frost. It’s cold and snowy and windy, with blizzards and fires in the fireplace and short days, with long nights. I loved it!

  • “It was cold, the kind of cold that made bones feel brittle and hands ache. My breath streamed from my lips like smoke, and my feet made wet, crunching sounds in the snow as I slipped through the forest.”
  • “The snow swirled around me, like fat white moths in the darkness.”

2. The writing is gorgeous, and it grabbed me within the first paragraph. Kate Avery Ellison has this amazing knack for presenting ideas like love, and the intense coldness of the Frost, in a beautiful way.

  • “Just thinking abut it took my breath away. I gazed at the world of snowy white around us, at the feathery pines and moonlit hollows. What forgotten secrets lay beneath this icy visage?”
  • “The wind blew, stinging my cheeks and carrying with it the taste of ice. I slogged down the hill to the porch. My legs were weak with relief.”
  • “He kissed me at first like he was afraid I’d break, and then he kissed me like it was the last thing he’d ever do.”
  • “He looked at me like I was made of unbearable light and I was blinding him.”
  • “Love is a perilous dance too, you see. And if we stop dancing, we’ll die. Don’t ever stop dancing.”

See? Beautiful! Don’t some of those quotes make you went to melt into a puddle?

3. I love the storytelling. We are given just enough information to not feel completely unaware, but not enough to make things predictable. I loved the mystery and the unknowns. Like the monsters (Watchers)… Why are they here? What do they want? When will the show up? We are given information as we need it, not as we want it. I was flipping through the pages SO fast. The creativity behind this work is amazing!

4. The characters are all so likeable. Lia is strong and sensible. Her parents are dead, and she has to take care of her crippled twin brother and younger sister. She brings to the story that maturity a person gains when they are all of a sudden a teenage parent to children their own age. He siblings are so sweet and protective of her, but never try and hold her back from doing what she knows she has to do. The villain jumps out at you from nowhere, and the guy you thought you hated ends up being nothing you thought he was.

5. Gabe is swoonworthy, which is why he needs his own bolded number. I mean, he’s got this brooding hardened exterior, and is a man of few words… but the words he actually does say are perfect. He says the most amazing things to Lia. I melted. And he’s from this forbidden people, so we’ve got the tension that goes with “I have a major thing for him, but I’ve been brought up to fear and loathe him.” situation. Also, there’s this slow build up with him. The romance is actually barely mentioned, since it’s in the beginning stages. I bet the next book will include more. There’s no instalove, though, so I am SO willing to wait longer. :)

6. The forest is a character all its own, and I loved it. It sounds so mystical and gorgeous, yet it freaked me out! Every time any person ventured into the trees, I got so scared for them. And as the sky grew darker and darker, and the monsters began to appear… OH MAN. Good stuff, I tell you!

7. The ending is amazing! It’s suspenseful, charged with romance, and ah-ha! moments. Again, you are given the info you need to understand, but there are so many things screaming from inside of me, begging for the sequel. I can’t wait!

This book is a hidden gem. Again, I love being a book blogger, because I get to find all these amazing lesser-known books and then tell you to buy them! I’d recommend this to dystopia lovers, people who believe that monsters lurk in the dark, and swoonworthy male leads!

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Stop by the other tour stops for more book reviews, excerpts, deleted scenes, interviews, & more!

5 Stars

Cicada by Belle Whittington (Book Review + Giveaways!)

Posted June 18, 2012 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult Fiction / 5 Comments

Cicada by Belle Whittington (Book Review + Giveaways!)Cicada by Belle Whittington
Series: Cicada #1
Published by CreateSpace on September 13, 2011
Genres: Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 220
Format: eBook
Source: Author
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Summertime for Blair Reynolds and her friends had always been carefree and fun... until the summer they happened upon something that was not human. As they band together in a fight for their lives, Blair's true love becomes something more than human. Something unnatural. And their survival depends entirely upon their ability to keep a secret.

Hello! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog as I help kick off the AToMR blog tour for Belle Whittington’s Cicada, book #1 in an exciting and suspenseful young adult sci-fi trilogy (haha. Long sentence there!)! When you are finished reading my review, make sure to find the complete schedule of tour events at the bottom. Also, find the opportunity to win one of 12 ebook copies of Cicada and/or an electronic firefly in a jar in honor of the upcoming sequel to Cicada, called Firefly. Both Rafflecopters are at the bottom of this review. :)

Going into this book, I was not really sure what to expect at all. I mean… cicadas are bugs. And they are noisy little guys! I used to live in Louisiana, and every summer night was accompanied by the sounds of cicadas in the trees. One time I saw one and flipped out. I’m really against bugs in general. And then I read the book blurb, which does not tell you much, and saw the “not human” and thought: Oooo! Aliens! And sci-fi. And hopefully not huge bugs, because I would have a major problem with that. Cicada surprised me! I was not expecting such a suspenseful, romantic, creepy, mysterious, and exciting story. I’m a huge lover of reading conspiracy theories (I don’t believe most of them, but they are fun to think about!), so when crop circles and aliens and UFOs and secret government agencies came into play, I was up all night reading. This was a great story! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. This is a way different kind of story than most sci-fi books I’ve come across lately. It’s kind of a mix of the movie Signs and the Wings series by Aprilynn Pike. Weird, I know. That sounds crazy. Seriously, though! You’ve got the aliens and the crop circles and the “I’m freaking out about the fact that you’re outside in the dark right now” feeling, mixed with the “my boyfriend, who I thought was normal, is not normal at all and is changing and becoming a new person, and I might not see him for a while, but I need to pull through this and be strong” kind of situation.

2. Welcome to a young adult romance without a love triangle! Do you know how much I loved the fact that the main story was not centered around two boys fighting over one girl? It was glorious! Everett, the geeky guy in the group is Blaire’s best friend, and things develop from that. It’s a natural, common kind of real life relationship and I was very happy to see that surface in a sea of books with love triangles.

3. The characters were a lot of fun, but Blair was not my favorite at all. She was kind of an ordinary heroine to me. Her brother Andrew, though, was so great to read about. He is this sweet big brother who has a whole bunch of secrets, and really adores and protects his sister. Blair’s mom kind of weirded me out. She spoke to Blair a lot in sing-sing rhymes, which I found… well, weird. Haha. David is a baseball stud, whose batting skills came in handy and made me like him a lot. He’s also a very caring friend. Then there’s Natalie… and her role in the story confused me. She and David have a thing for each other, but don’t act on it because college is coming up and they will have to part ways. But they are still cuddly and dependent on each other, and then all of a sudden, the relationship escalates, but we were given no clues that it was happening! That romance was a bit unconvincing, but it’s probably because they are supporting characters, so we don’t get much info on them.

4. The creep-factor in Cicada had this chicken quivering under every blanket she owned. There’s just something about people walking through really dark, dense woods in the middle of the DARK. Plus, as Blair and all her friends started to get more and more involved with this non-human situation at hand, they became targets of a very dangerous group of people who were out to kill them. Now me, I’d hide in my closet. Or I’d move. Join a convent. Flee the country. What did they do? They went searching for these people! They entered mysterious buildings with green lights inside in the MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. Because surely, waiting until it’s light out is not at all practical. You know how you watch a movie, and the main character hears a noise outside, so they walk out to see what it is? And they’re all, “Hello? Is someone there?” And you’re like, “DUH! GETINSIDERIGHTNOW!” Yeah. Exactly. Would you go snooping around scary city in the middle of the night? No, I think not. I was so creeped out that I called my little sister at 2:00 in the morning and asked her to go with me when I brushed my teeth, so that I would not have to walk across the dark hallway alone (because I swear I heard an alien out there). Yes, I’m admitting this to you. And I’m a chicken. This might be something your mom would read as a bedtime story to a 7-year-old you. Don’t judge me if you read this and are not scared. Toast popping out of the toaster has me practically running in place.

5. I wish there was a bit more substance. There was a lot of riding around “in the darkness” and searching a building and four-wheeling and visiting a storage facility. I wish we had been given some more character development and a few different events. The story was relatively short, though, so maybe we’ll get more in book #2. :)

6. The main climax of the book moved really quickly. It took a while to build up, which I enjoyed, but then BAM! Crazy thing happens, and then crazy thing is somewhat resolved within a few pages. I would have liked a little more time between the crazy and the resolution. We are led to believe (through what the characters say) that fixing this major, major problem is going to be extremely hard, but they do it rather easily within just a few pages. I wanted to go through more turmoil and more worry. I wanted the characters to have to struggle more. This is really hard to explain without spoiling things. If you’ve read the book, you know what I mean.

7. The vague blurb was obviously written vaguely for a reason, so I’m not going to spoil anything for you. I find that sometimes a book’s back cover summary gives way too much away. This one leaves you with a lot of questions, which brings me to my next point: this book has left me with SO MANY QUESTIONS, which really frustrated me! Haha. I’m glad there’s a couple more books coming out in this story, and hopefully I’ll know what’s going on by the end of those. :P

This is a really nice debut from Belle Whittington. Of course, there is room for improvement, but isn’t there always? I’m excited to see what she does with the following stories, and it’ll be fun to watch her writing style and storytelling develop as her books continue. The sign of a great author is that each of their books are better than the ones before. I can see Belle being one of those authors. I enjoyed the story a lot, and am going to be on the lookout for the next one. I’d recommend this to lovers of sci-fi romances and conspiracy theories.
 

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Here’s a link to a video of what the electronic firefly looks like. Very cool!

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These giveaways include everyone on every stop of this blog tour, so there is no guarantee that one of my readers will win. Also, I’m not the one in charge of choosing the winners. They are. :)

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Sound of the Heart by Genevieve Graham (Review & Guest Post)

Posted May 22, 2012 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Book Review, Guest Post / 3 Comments

Sound of the Heart by Genevieve Graham (Review & Guest Post)Sound of the Heart by Genevieve Graham
Series: The MacDonnells #2
Published by Berkley on May 1, 2012
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Author
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4 Stars

Dougal MacDonnell, a fierce warrior from the Highlands of Scotland, is able to hear the thoughts of other men and dream how the future will unfold. Devastated by the loss of his family during the Battle of Culloden in 1746, he fosters a deep hatred for the English. But when Glenna, the love of his life and a Scottish outlaw, is captured and shipped overseas, Dougal is forced to join an English army made of vanquished Scots. Now fighting on the side of his sworn enemies, he embarks on a journey that will take him across the seas to the colonies. There he will risk everything for the chance to find his true love.

(Even though this is a companion novel, it can be read as a stand-alone. The first book is Dougal’s brother’s story.)

I read Genevieve’s Under the Same Sky and reviewed it over at The Broke and the Bookish last month, so I was excited when Genevieve contacted me and asked if I was interested in reading this companion novel. Under the Same Sky was a tricky read for me, as some of the subject matter was highly distressing, and my tender heart had a hard time reading the recounting of certain historical happenings, including rape, abuse, and war. I wrote to Genevieve about my struggles, and we began discussing history and how women were treated during the times this book covers. Genevieve is here today to talk about what she and I discussed (how researching opens up so many unknown truths), and you can find her guest post beneath my review of Sound of the Heart. Now, on to my review (which I will try to keep brief so this post does not turn into a HUGE read!)! I fear my review will be vague, as there are so many ways to include spoilery… but I will do my best to not spoil anything! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I went into this book expecting a darker read, like Under the Same Sky. The covers of both books are rather deceptive, so don’t assume you’ll be getting a light, fluffy romance when you pick them up. Sound of the Heart is much lighter than Under the Same Sky, and I actually ended up liking it even more than I liked the first one. I rarely like sequels or companions as much as the first book, so I was pleasantly surprised at my reaction to this one.

2. Now, we’re still dealing with some heavy subject matter, it’s just spread more thinly throughout the book, plus there’s much less violence towards women, which is what I struggled with in book 1.

  • The bulk of the first part of the book tells us all about Dougal’s time being imprisoned as a POW after he survives the Battle of Culloden (which is actually told in great detail in Under the Same Sky). The struggles of life in prison during this time are told in great detail, and I felt so badly for Dougal and all the others with him. There was a lot of violence, and prisoners were killed or beaten for the smallest reasons.
  • Women were treated very poorly and we read some instances of rape and abuse. It’s much tamer and less detailed than in Under the Same Sky.

3. I really liked Dougal. You don’t learn much about him in the first book, but I liked him just as much as I liked his brother, Andrew in Under the Same Sky. We’re given another sexy Scottish Highlander with a cute accent and a sweet demeanor. He befriends and watches over two younger boys who are imprisoned with him, and I loved the tender bond the three formed. He sort of adopts them as his own brothers after his family died in the battle. The loyalty to his family was very touching. I love family guys. I also really liked his friend Joseph, who had a lot of personality and a sense of humor that lightened the mood during the dark times of the story.

4. Glenna is a very dynamic character, with a lot of secrets. I won’t tell you how she falls into Dougal’s life, because that’s a spoiler, but I really liked her. I appreciate the fact that Genevieve writes strong female characters. So many historical romances make women look like submissive, meek little chickens with no backbones or common sense. Glenna was SO strong, just like Maggie was in Under the Same Sky. She was thrown some major curve balls in life, but she’s still a sweet character with a lot of street smarts.

She is captured from her humble home with Dougal and shipped overseas, where she is sold into slavery. Hello? I had no idea white slavery existed during this time, nor did I know that Scottish men and women were essentially kidnapped and shipped to the Americas to serve as slaves or fight for the English Army. Her life as a servant starts out better than most, but then things go wrong and she is placed into a terrifying situation. She fights back, though, and I kept saying, “Yes! You go girl!” all throughout the book. I loved watching her grow. She also runs across some wonderful friends, and I enjoyed reading their stories as well. They all had such sweet personalities, even though their lives were far from pleasant.

5. The romance was really wonderful. Glenna and Dougal are adorable together! Sadly, a lot of this book is them trying to get back to one another once they are separated, but you can feel the longing they share. Their love keeps them alive, and I really enjoyed reading about a love with that kind of power.

6. Again, Genevieve does not disappoint with her writing style. It’s gorgeous. She has a way of packing you up and taking you to the settings in the book. She also has the power to make you feel what the characters are feeling. I know that’s why I struggled so much with Under the Same Sky, and why I ended up really enjoying both books. It’s because her writing is so powerful that it feels real. You’re sent on this roller coaster of emotions and feelings, and when the ride is over you’re as in love with the characters as they are with each other.

Overall, I’m so glad I read this book. I loved reading about Dougal and Glenna’s love story, and I enjoyed learning more about the history during this time in Scotland, England, and the American Colonies. I would recommend this to lovers of historical romance and historical fiction. Genevieve has a book 3 in the making, and I KNOW I want to read it! It tells the story of Adelaide, Maggie’s sister in Under the Same Sky. SO exciting! Hopefully Penguin picks it up, as I know it’ll be nothing short of amazing.

 

Genevieve Graham graduated from the University of Toronto in 1986 with a Bachelor of Music in Performance (playing the oboe). While on a ski vacation in Alberta, she met her future husband in a chairlift lineup and subsequently moved to Calgary to be with him. They have recently settled in a small, peaceful town in Nova Scotia with their two beautiful daughters. Writing became an essential part of Genevieve’s life a few years ago, when she began to write her debut novel, Under the Same Sky. The companion novel, Sound of the Heart, will be in stores May 1, 2012.

The Trouble with Research…
is that you find out stuff.

I write Historical Fiction, so that means there’s going to be a certain amount of research involved. When I started writing, I had no experience with researching, other than what I did eons ago in school, but I was excited about starting. My first book, “Under the Same Sky”, takes place in the 1700’s, a time of which I had no knowledge, other than what I had read in well-written historical fiction, like the “Outlander” series by Diana Gabaldon, and the “Into the Wilderness” series by Sara Donati. The time period sounded gritty and exciting and full of adventure. A perfect setting!

When I realized my hero’s name was Andrew MacDonnell, I enthusiastically went online and researched the MacDonnell clan tartan. When I got past all the advertisements (and pried my eyes off pictures of models and movie stars in kilts), I ran headlong into a discovery that made me shake my head with confusion. Did you know … It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that clans began to claim their own tartan? Until that time, the variation in tartans was a regional thing. The striped patterns were based on the dyes available in the region. Oh, and in the beginning I had no idea that the words ‘plaid’ and ‘tartan’ weren’t technically interchangeable. Maybe in North America they are, but in Scotland, a ‘plaid’ is a wool tartan blanket which the people slung over their shoulder.

For that first book, I also studied the Cherokee and other Native American tribes and absolutely loved researching them. I dug in deep, exploring the seven different clans within tribes, the animal totems, the beliefs after death, hunting rituals … and I ended up with about 50,000 extra words that had nothing to do with the story. They were pretty fascinating reading, but took the story completely off track. So I cut them and stored those chapters away for another time.

I’ve come to believe deeply in the importance of revealing truths in historical fiction. While I’m no expert, I know a lot of things now that I never knew before. For example, I was aware that it was tough to be a woman back then, but I had no idea just how bad it was. One in three women died in childbirth. One in three! Was every one of those babies fathered by a husband? No. Rape was a fairly common occurrence back then and since women had little protection and no rights, it was practically impossible to punish the perpetrator. Unwanted pregnancies were occasionally terminated by herbal concoctions or more brutal methods, but the mother rarely survived. If she did, it would be a miracle if she ever managed to bear another baby.

“Sound of the Heart” gives the reader a taste of prison life for battle captives in 1746. When the defeated Scottish warriors arrived at the prison, after walking three hours, were they fed? No. They were locked up for two days with no food and no medical aid. Did men die easily on the battlefield, succumbing to wounds with a final loving word whispered to their loves? Since pain relief was barely used and loved ones were often miles away, I’d say no.

Some authors research political aspects, society rules, formal issues. All are valid, important facts within historical fiction. I have chosen to follow a grittier path. My characters are every-man and every-woman, commoners who have never seen silk or pearls. Often, though, they have a little something “extra” (like psychic powers). I throw them into scenes they might not survive if it weren’t for their strength of character or something changing in the situation that frees them. Like my characters, I don’t know anything about the “regency” side of history. I only know about the often agonizingly painful realities of life back then.

“Sound of the Heart” also introduces readers to an ugly aspect of history that many of us (including me) otherwise wouldn’t know about: white slavery. Beginning in the 1600’s, hundreds of thousands of white slaves were taken to the colonies. They were treated as badly as their black counterparts, and often worse. They were usually less expensive, because they were constantly being replaced. After all, the colonies were a hot climate compared to overseas. Working plantation fields was far too much for them, and many died.

I know some people are put off by violence in historical fiction, and I’m sorry when my stories upset them. I salute those readers who battle through the difficult parts so they can get to the end. I was once accused of using rape as something of a plot vehicle, which actually left me slack-jawed. The thing is, just because I include these things in the stories doesn’t mean I make them up. I don’t. These are real situations. And just like white slavery today, it is important that we stop looking the other way. I refuse to sugar coat the truth, and I don’t pull punches. At the same time, I stay away from gratuitousness.

Okay. Hopping off my soapbox now.

I guess the moral for today is you never know what you’ll find when you start researching the past. But chances are, if you persevere and keep digging, you’ll come away with treasure.

4 Stars

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves (Review & Intl Giveaway)

Posted March 5, 2012 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway / 16 Comments

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves (Review & Intl Giveaway)On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
Series: On the Island #1
Published by CreateSpace on October 11, 2010
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance, Survival
Pages: 329
Format: eBook
Source: Author
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5 Stars

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day. T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island.

Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

I was pretty leery of this book. A 33-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy? I was worried it would be written in a tasteless way, or that it would seem creepy. I was also worried that this book would be as boring as the movie Castaway. Nothing against the movie, but only so much can happen on an island. Gilligan’s Island was entertaining, but it was because of all the shenanigans. I was worried this would be either boring or cheesy. It definitely was not either of those things. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The age difference is not weird, nor is it a big deal. Nothing happens until TJ is almost 19, so don’t worry. He has been through and conquered cancer, and he’s surviving on an island. He is very mature and has a lot of life experience. You will not be weirded out by this concept. I’m mentioning this first because it was the first thing that scared me about this book. Haha.

2. I was hooked from the first page and read over half of the book in one sitting. The beginning is particularly intense, as the plane crash and the process of making it to shore is pretty crazy. The whole book is intense, to be honest. I mean, these two went through everything! Health issues, vicious wildlife, constant worry, depression, etc. I seriously was hooked. I kept saying to myself, “Just one more chapter. Then I’ll go to sleep.”

3. I really liked the two main characters. They strengthened each other and became very close. Anna is smart and caring. She was a mother figure to TJ until he grew up. TJ is strong and incredibly mature. He really takes care of Anna. Their relationship was really very sweet, as it formed from a bond that most people will never understand. I appreciated that they waited on being intimate until TJ was the proper age. If it had happened when they first crashed and he was 16, I would have probably quit reading. I’m not going to spoil anything for you, but let me just say that some of the biggest obstacles they dealt with were not on the island. But they stuck together and pulled through. I love a strong set of characters, and these are probably some of the strongest I’ve ever read about.

4. The narration alternates back and forth between the two characters, allowing us to read what’s going on through both their minds. I loved that.

5. The descriptions of the island and the weather were very detailed and well done. I felt like I was there. Also, the intense moments (like animal attacks) were so intense that I almost quit blinking. I loved how the author took me to the exact moment and dropped me in the middle of it.

6. Remember how I said, “Only so much can happen on an island?” I was wrong! I read through years of these two and their island happenings, and I didn’t get bored once. That takes extreme talent on the author’s part. When over half the book consists of two people, an island, and nature, you would think there’s not much to work with. Things could get boring and repetitive really fast. The conversations and critical events kept me wondering what was going to happen next, and I actually wished that more of the book took place on the island.

7. The writing is flawless. I can’t believe it’s Tracey’s first book! Really, it was beautiful.

8. This book pulled intense emotions out of me. I was scared for these two, and I felt the love they had for each other. Their story is very moving–how they relied so heavily on each other, how they could not think of losing one another, how as long as they were together they would be ok. I mean, they were each others’ reasons for surviving. Talk about intense emotion. If someone got sick or hurt, the other one immediately dreaded life. And I was there for the whole thing. I felt all of it, and it was powerful.

9. There were funny moments too, don’t get me wrong. I laughed at some of the things they said to each other. I laughed at the chicken named “Chicken” who they adopted as a pet. I mean, the little guy curled up in Anna’s lap! How whimsical! They played with dolphins in the lagoon almost every day. And before they acted upon it, the sexual tension and the things they said to each other were hilarious.

10. I appreciated the authenticity of the story. Tracey did not sugarcoat anything. She made things seem believable. I mean, if you’re stranded on an island for a few years, you’re going to deal with gross hygiene, bad diet, crummy weather, sickness, and other dangers. This could really happen, and I think that’s part of why I loved it so much.

11. Everything was resolved. Have you ever read a book and flipped out because the ending just sucked? This ending did not suck at all. I loved it. You will too.

Overall, I am so glad I took a leap of faith with this book. I loved it. The writing was amazing, the story inspiring, and the characters well-rounded and loveable. It’s during instances like this one when I realize how truly grateful I am to be a book blogger. I’m exposed to lesser-known novels all the time, and most of them (like this one) deserve much more recognition. It’s an honor to be able to help spread the word when a book is this good. I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good romance mixed with a ton of action, excitement, intrigue, and exotic places.

EDIT: I just noticed how many times I said “intense”. Oh. My. Gosh. 


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This tour runs through March 9th. To follow the other tour stops, which include author interviews, book excerpts, giveaways, and more reviews, click here.

Edit (June 13, 2012) – Tracey has announced on her blog, that Plume (an imprint of Penguin) bought On the Island, designed a new cover, and are publishing it! Her next novel was also bought up. She’s no longer a self-published author! I am SO excited for her, and so happy I was able to help get the word out about this book so many months ago. I love, LOVE this story and am SO excited about what’s in store for Tracey as a result!

5 Stars

The Intern by Jess C. Scott (Book Review)

Posted February 28, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 5 Comments

The Intern by Jess C. Scott (Book Review)The Intern by Jess C. Scott
Published by Self on August 17, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Author
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0.5 Stars

17-year-old Suzie Q, smart kid and closet dance enthusiast, travels with a classmate to a world-class city for an internship program. She finds herself undeniably attracted to the suave hip-hop instructor, Jo.Zee, who recruits her into a dance fitness DVD he is producing. When Suzie sees (or thinks she sees) the real Jo.Zee, she must decide if she will trust him...or her instincts.

1. I’ve got extremely mixed feelings about this book. While I liked the idea, the execution was poor. The grammar was bad, the editing needed to be more precise, and the style bothered me. I found a ton of typos… It was written in first person, which takes talent that this author does not really have…

2. The details were too specific, especially regarding feelings. Nothing was left to the imagination. Jess spelled out every single emotion so you couldn’t put yourself in the character’s place.

3. There’s a lot of long descriptions of dance routines, which were so hard to follow. I could never picture in my mind the dances that the character(s) were doing. You have to be a Korean-Pop/Hip-Hop dancer to really understand, in my opinion. Maybe that’s not a big deal, but there’s a lot of it and I would have skimmed over those more if I were not planning to review this book.

4. Now, I really liked the story… and the idea. And I did find myself reading further to see what happened next. However, I found myself being confused by critical story elements, which is not normal for me. I don’t get confused by what I read… lol. Not to sound pretentious, but I’m a reading teacher, so my comprehension was not the problem. It was the writing. I had to read entire passages a second time to try and figure out what was going on.

I dunno. I liked the story, but the grammar and writing was sub-par. It all boils down to two things: it screams of being self-edited, and it screams of being self-published. I did not get the feeling that this was written by a professional, but more like someone who thought it might be a fun endeavor.

0.5 Stars

Forbidden by Syrie James & Ryan James (Book Review)

Posted November 30, 2011 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 2 Comments

Forbidden by Syrie James & Ryan James (Book Review)Forbidden by Ryan James, Syrie James
Published by HarperTEEN on January 24, 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 410
Format: ARC
Source: Author
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4 Stars

She should not exist.

He should not love her.

Claire Brennan has been attending Emerson Academy for two years now (the longest she and her mom have remained anywhere) and she’s desperate to stay put for the rest of high school. So there’s no way she’s going to tell her mom about the psychic visions she’s been having or the creepy warnings that she’s in danger.

Alec MacKenzie is fed up with his duties to watch and, when necessary, eliminate the descendants of his angelic forefathers. He chose Emerson as the ideal hiding place where he could be normal for once. He hadn’t factored Claire into his plans. . . .

Their love is forbidden, going against everything Alec has been taught to believe. But when the reason behind Claire’s unusual powers is revealed and the threat to her life becomes clear, how far will Alec go to protect her?

I was SO excited when Syrie wrote to me and told me that I was the first ever recipient of a Forbidden ARC! I read this book back in August, and was very happy when Syrie asked that I post this review now, rather than wait for the month of the release. Put this on your Christmas lists, guys! I think you’ll enjoy it. :)

First off, I really loved the story. The premise was interesting, and I like how I had to keep guessing and trying to figure out what was going on. I liked the tactic the authors used–to not tell us what Claire or Alec are for quite a while. All these crazy things start happening, and people are not who they say they are. I felt like I was just as lost as Claire was, which was exciting. I wish the back of the book did not mention angels. It would have been more fun to not have had any clue at all.

Alec is an amazing character, and I’m not going to tell you what he is. It’s fun to discover that on your own. He’s a mix of bad boy and sweetheart, which I love. He is so sweet with Claire. He’s also mysterious and dangerous, yet soft and romantic. He’s at Emerson Academy to escape his old life and create a new one… if that’s even possible. He enjoys his isolation. As soon as Claire pops up on the radar as someone the Elders should be investigating, his hiding place is discovered and he ends up having to take drastic measures to protect her from those who wish to destroy her.

I’m not going to tell you exactly what Claire is either, but she’s something forbidden. Haha. Her entire life should not even exist. She starts noticing changes and has to learn as she goes, because not many have ever been in her position. There’s no manuals on how to be herself. Man, this is painful to explain without spoilers, so I’m moving on! She’s sweet and wishes to be noticed by this one guy she’s had a crush on for years. Of course, he barely notices she’s alive. When Alec comes along, though, she begins to gravitate towards him right as this crush starts to gravitate towards her. She’s torn. She doesn’t embrace the love triangle, like so many YA girls end up doing in books. (Like… did Bella have to act so upset to be marrying Edward, but fling herself into Jacob’s arms when he showed up late at her reception? Sorry… I just saw Breaking Dawn yesterday.). She does a lot of thinking, and follows her heart. She seems smart. She also uses her talents to help people, like a classmate who needed a push in the right direction. Those are two main reasons why I like her. She didn’t bug me, which often happens to me with YA heroines. I feel like I’m saying this a lot lately. Maybe authors are starting to write better heroines in general?

I liked Claire’s friends a lot. They looked out for each other, and spent a lot of time sitting and chatting about all kinds of things. Friends usually end up bugging me too. They can so often be petty, catty, etc. I wish I had good friends like them when I was in high school.

There were several plot twists that made me go, “Whoa! I definitely wasn’t thinking THAT would happen!” I’ve noticed that as I read more and more of one genre, books begin to become pretty predictable. I mean, how many love triangles do we see? How many evil villains do we see? How many cliche plot twists do we see. A lot, a lot, a lot. These twists were not something I foresaw. I enjoyed being outsmarted by a genre that I’ve pretty much figured out.

Of course, the sweet kissing descriptions were just as good as the ones I’ve read in Syrie’s other novels. I love romance!

My only possible constructive criticism… I’m not sure if it’s because the book is part of the YA genre (which I’ve never read from Syrie), or if it was because she co-wrote it with her son, but there were parts of the novel that were totally Syrie, and other parts that did not sound like her. I could tell that two people wrote it. I’m not sure if it’s because her writing style and Ryan’s were not blended seamlessly, or if it was just that I’m used to reading adult fiction from Syrie instead of YA. In either case, it’s not a huge deal… just an observation. If I had not read other works of hers, I doubt I would have noticed anything at all. I’ve just come to recognize Syrie’s literary voice because I like it so much!

I asked Syrie if she and her son were planning to write a sequel, and she said that in their minds, it’s a trilogy. However, HarperTeen only committed to one book. They have great ideas for the next two, though, so hopefully Forbidden is well-received, and they can continue the story. I’d love to know more about what’s in store for Alec and Clair. Actually, I’d love a prequel, too. Throughout the story, we hear little bits about Claire’s parents. I’d love to read about their story as well. It has the potential to be a pretty beautiful story.

I definitely think that the book will appeal to more than just YA readers, and I think a lot of that is due to the fact that the characters are not annoying and certainly don’t fit into the stereotypical high school student formula. I think it also helped that Alec had a certain maturity that seemed to influence the other characters, and that brought on more mature conflicts and issues. I’m 24, and a lot of YA novels I read make me feel pretty old. Haha. I know I’m not old, but in a totally different place than most YA characters. I didn’t feel like this while reading Forbidden, and I forgot they were all highschoolers. It was refreshing.

In short, it was a wonderful book. I quite enjoyed it, and only took about 2 days to read it. Hopefully this team gets to continue the story! While it can totally stand on its own, there are plenty of ends that are just a tad loose, that could use some tying up!

4 Stars