Book Review: Secret by Brigid Kemmerer

Secret (Elemental, #4)

Title: Secret (Elementals #4)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Magic, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Allen & Unwin (Australia), Kensington Teen (US)
Publication Date: January 2014
Pages: 375
Rating: 4.5 stars

Note: The Australian edition of Secret contains Nick’s novella, Breathless, which introduces the dynamic between Nick and Quinn as well as Adam.

Synopsis (from goodreads):

Nick Merrick is stretched to breaking point. He’s trying to keep his grades sky-high or he won’t get in to college. He’s trying to keep his brother’s business afloat or the Merricks will be out on the street. He’s trying to keep the secret of where he’s going in the evenings from his twin brother Gabriel – or he fears he’ll lose his family. And he’s trying to keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who is his ‘girlfriend’s’ partner.

And then Quinn takes to hanging around his sworn enemy, and an Elemental Guide is counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers. Storms are brewing. On all sides.

SECRETS IN THE WIND. DANGER IN THE AIR.

My Review:

Nick Merrick has been keeping a secret. He’s been having feelings for his girlfriend’s male dance partner and Quinn is the only one who knows. But Quinn has a secret of her own. Her homelike has been getting worse by the day and she feels like she can’t tell everyone just how bad things are with her mother and older brother. The Guides are getting closer and the threat to the Elemental Merrick brothers is imminent. With Tyler, a local teen who has been torturing the brothers for years, popping up and Nick’s secret growing heavy on him, Nick needs to decide who he can trust before things get out of his control.

I’ve been a fan of this series since I read the first book, Storm, and I get more attached to the Merrick clan with each new instalment. This book focuses on the romantic relationships between Nick and Adam as well as Quinn and Tyler. I do enjoy the romance in this series and it felt like it was going back to the start where more of the focus in the novel was romance and less drama. However I found myself missing some of the action and excitement that the Guides bring. In many ways the prologue felt slightly out-of-place – with a discussion between the Guide which caused Hunter so much pain in Spirit but then not being addressed for the rest of the novel.

Whilst the title of this book doesn’t follow the Elemental aspect of previous books, Secret is a perfectly fitting title. Near all the characters in this novel have secrets that they don’t know how to handle. From Nick’s sexuality to Quinn’s family and the part of himself that Tyler is keeping hidden from the world – the theme of secrets was beautifully reiterated throughout the book. One of the things I liked most about this book was how supportive the majority of characters were when faced with other’s secrets.

Overall I enjoyed this book. This novel was a pleasure to read and with a few surprises that I was not expecting (I can’t wait to see the fallout from the ending).  With the focus being more on romance and relationships as opposed to the Elementals vs. Guides battle, Secret felt like it was laying a lot of ground work for the next book in the series. There’s a lot up in the air (no Air Elemental pun intended!),  I can not wait for Michael’s story, Sacrifice.

 Thanks to Allen & Unwin for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Check out my reviews for the other books in the Elemental series:

Storm (Elementals #1)

Spark (Elementals #2)

Spirit (Elementals #3)

Novellas: Elemental (Elementals #0.5), Fearless (Elementals #1.5), Breathless (Elementals #2.5)

Graphic Novel Review: Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Frostbite: The Graphic Novel (Vampire Academy: The Graphic Novel, #2)

Title: Frostbite (Vampire Academy Graphic Novel #2)
Author:
Richelle Mead
Adapted by: Leigh Dragoon
Illustrated by: Emma Vieceli
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult, Vampires, Urban Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: April 2012
Pages: 164
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
The drama and romance continue in this 144-page full-color graphic novel adaptation of the second Vampire Academy novel, Frostbite, which was overseen by Richelle Mead and features beautiful art by acclaimed British illustrator Emma Vieceli.

When love and jealousy collide on the slopes, winter break turns deadly.

A Strigoi attack puts St. Vladimir’s on high alert, and the Academy whisks its students away on a mandatory holiday ski trip. But the glittering winter landscape and posh Idaho resort only provide the illusion of safety. When three students run away to strike back at the Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. Only this time, Rose—and her heart—are in more danger than she could have imagined.

My Review:

Rose may have saved Lissa’s life in Vampire Academy but there are more threats on the Moroi Princess’ life. With the entire vampire world on guard, the school sends students to a luxury ski resort to try to keep them safe. Whilst St. Vladamir’s might be trying to protect their students it seems that trouble always seems to find Rose and her friends. With fantastic new characters and all the old favourites, Frostbite picks up right where Vampire Academy ended and continues with a lot of action and drama.

I’m not a graphic novel person. I’ve read perhaps one in the past three years. But with the Vampire Academy movies being released soon and the slight withdrawal I seem to go though in between instalments of the Bloodlines series, I couldn’t resist buying a copy of Frostbite last week (and I know I could have bought the first book but I was curious to see an artist’s recreation of Adrian).

Frostbite is the second book in the series but since I’ve read the original books I felt confident that I would be able to follow the graphic novel. And I did. This is a gorgeous visual adaptation of the series I love. There’s a fantastic recap at the start of the book which runs down the different characters that were introduced in the first novel as well as events which took place. If you have read the novel series then you will have no problems picking up this second book in the graphic novel series and there is enough details included that I think even people unfamiliar with Vampire Academy would be able to pick up on what’s going on.

I loved this adaptation. The illustrations are beautiful – and you can tell that the artist is very familiar with the source material. These pictures are fantastically true to the original story! Plot wise – all the important scenes are included. We get to see Rose’s uneasy relationship with her mother, the danger surrounding the Moroi as well as the uneasy political situation with the vampire royalty. Dimitri is around and his slightly inappropriate feelings for Rose are evident in the few pages devoted to it. Lissa and Christian are learning how to use their powers and we get to meet a new enigmatic Spirit user named Adrian (although at times I did get Christian and Adrian confused it was clear via context who was who).

I’m delighted that I decided to check out this graphic novel series. I am absolutely going to go and get the rest of the series that have been released so far. I think this series is a must have for fans of the novels as it gives an extra dimension to the story and characters.

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Book Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly (Unearthly, #1)

Title: Unearthly (Unearthly #1)
Author: Cynthia Hand
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult, Angels
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: January 2011
Pages: 432
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Clara has known she was part-angel ever since she turned fourteen two years ago, but only now is her Purpose – the crucial rite of passage for every part-angel – becoming clear to her. Clara′s Purpose leads her family to Wyoming, where, amidst terrifying scenes of a bush inferno, she finds the boy of her visions, Christian. He is everything she could wish for – so why does she also have feelings for her enigmatic classmate Tucker?

Clara discovers that her Purpose is only a small part of a titanic struggle between angels and their destructive counterparts, the Black Wings. And when the fire of her visions erupts and both Christian and Tucker are in danger, who will she choose to save?

My Review:

So often we only do what we think is expected of us, when we are capable of so much more.

As a part angel, Clara has a predestined mission. She doesn’t quite know what her Purpose is but knows that she must do everything in her power to save the boy in her visions – even if it means her family have to move across the country to a small town in the middle of nowhere. It’s there she finally finds the boy who haunts her – Christian. But despite finding him, her angelic mission is still unclear. As Clara adapts to life in the country, she finds new friends and some more about Angels and her kinds history. Black Wings – angels with a dark intentions, threaten Clara’s loved ones and her attraction for Tucker – a country boy with a lot of charm, endanger her from being able to save Christian and carry our her angelic Purpose.

Unearthly is a promising start to the series. Clara is likeable and independent with enough secrets  to keep things interesting. She has a good relationship with her mother and brother but it isn’t unrealistically perfect. She has disagreements and the occasional moment where she knowingly acts immature but that makes her just that much more authentic as teenager. Her angel ancestry is interesting – the visions, wings and all that go along with being a Quartarius (quarter angel) make for an entertaining read. I liked the way everything progressed as the story unfolded with some mysteries being revealed and more questions brought up.

For me one of the highlights in Unearthly is the romance. Not your average love triangle but Clara does find herself with feelings for two  very different boys. One is associated with her Purpose and the whole reason why she moved to the country and the other – a complete surprise. This is one of the few novels with a triangle where it’s not entirely apparent who the lead is going to pick until it happens.

I will definitely be reading the next book in the series (in fact I already have Hallowed (Unearthly #2) and Boundless (Unearthly #3) in my possession) because there are still many secrets and mysteries left for the reader to discover. I hope that the questions I have will be answered and I am excited to read more about Clara and her relationships with her friends and family.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Book Review + Giveaway: Unchosen by Michele Vail

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Title: Unchosen (The Reaper Diaries #2)unchosencover
Author: Michele Vail
Genre: Egyptian Mythology, Young Adult, Paranormal, 
Publisher: A Freeman Publication
Publication Date: 29th October 2013
Pages: 194
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
I thought the worst of my reaper training was behind me… turns out I was wrong. Dead wrong.

Molly Bartolucci has done a lot of growing up but after being accused of using illegal magic at her school for necromancers, reaper-in-training Molly is treading lightly. As the destined leader of Anubis’s Chosen, she needs to study hard, train harder, and stay out of trouble.

Uh, right.

It doesn’t help that she’s feeling more than academic about her melt-your-bones hot reaping instructor, Rath. And if her relationship drama isn’t enough to drive her over the edge, she has to deal with mother issues, nosy little sisters, suspicious friends, and an unnamed force stalking her at school.

Then her family is attacked, and her bio-dad ends up comatose in the hospital. Now, Molly has to uncover who’s trying to hurt her loved ones—and all without the help of Anubis.

My Review:

Keep Calm and carry your scythe…

Molly has been though a lot lately. Her first kiss – and subsequent first enthralling. Finding out her bio-dad is actually an ancient Egyptian God. Add to that her maternal ancestors all had Reaper powers and she was a legacy at a prestigious boarding school for necromancers. But things are just getting started for Molly.

She has to train to be the ‘Chosen’ Daughter of Anubis – despite the fact that she is in fact Anubis’ only living flesh girl child. She needs to somehow stay under the radar at school before whoever is trying to frame her gets her expelled. Oh and she needs to keep her wits about her even when sleeping because she keeps getting some possibly prophetic dreams spelling out death and destruction.

Wow she’s a busy girl.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the first book in this series, Undeadly. It felt a little too reminiscent of other books I’d read around that time. But I thought Unchosen was a great addition to this series. Molly is finding her feet among those who are gifted with magical powers – and she’s also doing okay coming to terms with the whole half-god thing. She’s growing on me as I can see that she’s growing up and she’s not the same girl in this book as she was in the last. I liked that she’s beginning to see the bigger picture and take responsibility for her role in the upcoming battle.

This book was so quick to read! I’d sad down to read a few chapters and next thing I know it’s a few hours later and I’m finished it! I loved how I was drawn into the story and didn’t want to stop. The ending has me anxiously anticipating the third and final book in this trilogy, Unbroken. 

Rath was my favourite character in the first book and I wasn’t as fond of him in this instalment. His relationship with Molly felt a little odd to me – I love the developments but the timing/pacing of it all just felt a little off. I felt a similar way towards all of the secondary characters. Because this book is fairly short and plot wise there’s quite a bit happening, we don’t get all that much character development. I wondered why some characters and some of their info were mentioned but I’m sure that it’ll all make sense in the next book.

Overall – I enjoyed the story. It’s quick, with quite a bit of action and a great take on Egyptian mythology – one that I’m not very familiar with. There’s romance and zombies (how cool are zombie?) and somehow it all comes together to deliver an entertaining story.

Thanks to Itching for Books Blog Tours for the review copy

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon

AUTHOR BIO

michelevail

Michele Vail is the author of The Reaper Diaries, a young adult paranormal series set in the modern world with a zombie twist. The stories center on 16-year-old Molly Bartolucci, a reaper-in-training who’s learning to deal with love, destiny, and death.
Michele Vail is the pen name of national bestselling paranormal romance author Michele Bardsley (who also writes thriller mysteries under Michele Freeman). The Reaper Diaries consist of three books: Undeadly, Unchosen, and Unbroken.
Author Links:

Giveaway!

There’s a tourwide giveaway for Unchosen when someone has the chance to win a copy of Undeadly & Unchosen (US only) and a $15 Amazon giftcard (open Internationally). Click on the rafflecopter link below for the chance to win!

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Book Review: Endless Knight by Kresley Cole

Endless Knight (The Arcana Chronicles, #2)

Title: Endless Knight (The Arcana Chronicles #2)
Author: Kresley Cole
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Adventure, Dystopian, 
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: October 2013
Pages: 336
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Evie has fully come into her powers as the Tarot Empress, and Jack was there to see it all. She now knows that the teens who’ve been reincarnated as the Tarot are in the throes of an epic battle. It’s kill or be killed, and the future of mankind hangs in the balance.

With threats lurking around every corner, Evie is forced to trust her newfound alliance. Together they must fight not only other Arcana, but also Bagmen zombies, post-apocalyptic storms, and cannibals.

When Evie meets Death, things get even more complicated. Though falling for Jack, she’s drawn to the dangerous Endless Knight as well. Somehow the Empress and Death share a history, one that Evie can’t remember—but Death can’t forget.

My Review:

Picking up where Poison Princess left us, Endless Knight starts with a bang! Evie has completely come into her Empress powers and is a force to reckoned with. Can the human cajun, Jackson cope with her supernatural destiny? Evie’s gang of Tarot characters have come to a truce to take out Death – but it’s not going to be easy. Other characters – like the Tower and Strength – come into play and Death is still haunting Evie’s thoughts. 

I loved how Evie has evolved since the first novel. Where she was once a cheerleader and model student, now she’s the Empress – poisoned spurs, magical blood and all. She knows that she has a part to play in the Arcana duel but wants things to end differently this time around. Forming a truce with Selena (The Moon), Matthew (The Fool) and Finn (the Magician), Evie hopes that Jackson will still stay true to his word and lead the misfit group to Evie’s grandmother for more information about past games.

There’s so much action in this book! More than once I was worried that Evie and her friends weren’t going to survive intact as a group. The new ‘cards’ introduced were interesting and I liked to see their take on the game and their roles within it. The highlight for me was Death – he’s so much more than the devious voice in Evie’s head and finding out more about his and his history as a person and within the game was incredible. It really changed the game for me. I was a little surprised at just how ruthless characters are – not just ones you’d expect it from like Death, but Evie is definitely a little more brutal and cruel with the toll of the Flash and Death in her head taking its toll. Jackson is different from the first book and we get to see another side to the Cajun bad boy.

Romance wise this book does have some nice moments. Kresley Cole does write some sizzling male characters and some breathtaking romantic scenes. I fall in love with a new character every book I read of hers. Things advance and regress with her relationships and characters felt more realistic and less flawless because of some events.

I can’t wait for the third book in the Arcana Chronicles – especially after the cliff-hanger Endless Knight left us on!  I’m excited to see which other ‘cards’ are introduced as well as what happens to the characters that I adore like Jackson and Death.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Book Review: Kiss of Fire by Rebecca Ethington

Kiss of Fire (Imdalind #1)

Title: Kiss of Fire (Imdalind series #1)
Author: Rebecca Ethington
Genre: Paranormal romance, magic, young adult
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: October 2012
Pages: 352
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Joclyn Despain has been marred by a brand on her skin. She doesn’t know why the mark appeared on her neck, but she doesn’t want anyone to see it, including her best friend Ryland, who knows everything else about her. The scar is the reason she hides herself behind baggy clothes, and won’t let the idea of kissing Ryland enter her mind, no matter how much she wants to.
The scar is the reason she is being hunted.

If only she knew that she was.

If only she had known that the cursed stone her estranged father sent for her 16th birthday would trigger a change in her. Now, she is being stalked by a tall blonde man, and is miraculously throwing her high school bully ten feet in the air.

Joclyn attempts to find some answers and the courage to follow her heart. When Ryland finds her scar; only he knows what it means, and who will kill her because of it.

My Review:

After being bitten by a mysterious bug when she was five years old, Joclyn spent six months in a coma. Upon waking up she has a very strange scar on her neck and her eyes have changed colour. Her father can’t cope with the bizarre mark on her neck and leaves. To try to make ends meet, Joclyn’s mother takes a job as a cook for the wealthy Edmund. It’s there that Jos meets his son, Ryland. From that moment on the two are inseparable. Eleven years later the two are still best friends despite Ryland’s father threatening them to stay apart. On Jos’ sixteenth birthday she gets a letter from her father claiming that he knows the secret behind her scar – and it involves magic.

This summary has one of my pet peeves – it alludes to things that don’t happen until half way though the book! You can’t do that! But I can understand why they did it. Kiss of Fire is fairly slow to start. We get to see a lot about Jos – who she is and how she got that way, as well as her relationship with Ryland. The magic element isn’t fully developed until the second half of the book and I think that was a little too long. I found my attention drifting at parts. The character of Jos did frustrate me at times. She’s got no insight and it felt like she always needed someone to hold her hand. Her relationship with Ryland was sweet and I do love to read about fated mates however it felt odd – one day best friends and the next Ry is trying to kiss her with no in between? But this is a story with magic so maybe I should blame it on witchcraft.

The characters of Wyn and her ‘brother’ are interesting and I love Wyn’s effervescent personality but I felt like the brother was a heart beat away from being a love interest for Jos and I feel having a love triangle would detract from the strong bond that Wyn and Ry share.

I feel a little like a nitpicker but there was one thing about this story that really niggled at me. BFFs for eleven years – doing all sorts of crazy things that kids get up to and not once did Ryland see the scar on Jos’ neck. And yet, one afternoon of hairography with Wyn and she can see the mark that Wyn’s been so protective about showing off? I just find it a little hard to believe that he never once saw it especially how attentive he is to her every move.

The magic and creatures involved in this book are cool – I love that the author has gone and writing a paranormal novel without the usual monsters. From the birth stones, to the powers they have, these are cool creatures.

Kiss of Fire has a lot of twists and turns with a fairly exciting climax and a great lead in to the second novel however my disconnection with the characters and dislike of Jos will keep me from continuing this series.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon

Book Review: Banish by Nicola Marsh

Banish

Title: Banish
Author: Nicola Marsh
Genre: Paranormal, Magic, Young Adult, Contemporary 
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: August 2013
Pages: 272
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Alyssa has one week to destroy her enemy, save her spirit… and save her soul.

After her ex-boyfriend commits suicide and her mum’s alcoholism sparks yet another psychotic episode, seventeen-year-old Alyssa Wood flees her small hometown of Broadwater and heads to New York City to stay with her bohemian aunt — a Wicca High Priestess.

Alyssa revels in the anonymity of a big city and her new life. Her grades climb, she has a new best friend, and a new guy: the sexy geek Ronan — a saxophone player who prefers jazz to pop.

But her newfound peace is soon shattered when she sees a dead body in one of Ronan’s music clips — and she’s the only one who can see it. Worse still, Alyssa recognises the body that has been murdered a week forward!

Alyssa doesn’t believe in the supernatural…despite her family’s Wicca background. So how will she overcome evil when it’s closer than she thinks?

My Review:

There’s a lot to like about Nicola Marsh’s YA debut – a strong heroine, a mystery which I couldn’t wait to see how it was solved, some romance and a great kind of magic. Alyssa has been through a lot.  Her boyfriend killed himself the day after they broke up and her mother is an alcoholic who hears voices – NYC with her high priestess aunt has to be better than the memories in Broadwater. But it seems that Alyssa can’t outrun her past. Her new life meets her old when she sees a video set one week in the future of a dead girl. Her new boyfriend Ronan thinks that maybe Lyssa’s aunt is responsible but the strange keeps popping up – a weird séance, jewellery which should be buried and other mysterious goings on. Alyssa needs to banish the bad that’s following her and try to save the girl before this bad magic following her takes her too.

I was excited to read this book because I love reading YA by Australian authors. The fact that Banish is set in the US was a little disappointing to me. Whist I thought Marsh did a great job of writing this city into the book I would have loved it just a little more had it been set in Australia.

I found Alyssa hard to connect with and as a result I found myself uninterested and not invested in just how things would end up for her. She’s blunt – and understandably so considering her history. But I didn’t like how rude she was to those trying to help her and her attitude towards people. She has expectations from people but doesn’t communicate to others what she wants or needs and because of this they don’t behave as she would like and she gets annoyed with them. Her constant disapproval of her aunt’s interest in the supernatural, her mother’s alcoholism and her boyfriend taking his own life was reiterated a little too often for my liking. It seemed like by the end of the novel there was only one thing I knew about each of those characters because it was the only thing Alyssa told us about them. I wasn’t a huge fan of the relationship between Alyssa and Ronan and I felt low to no chemistry between them but I liked that despite their relationship being new – it wasn’t perfect and that added a layer of realism to it.

The plot is slightly predictable but I was genuinely surprised by the motivation behind WHY the villain was tormenting Alyssa and I thought that the ending was a satisfying one. The highlight of this book to me was the type of magic used – it brought me back to my days watching Charmed. I’ll be keeping an eye out for any other YA titles Marsh writes however if Banish turns into a series it’s not one I think I’ll continue reading.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia| Book Depository | BookWorld

Book Review: Here by Ella James


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Title: Here (Here #1)
Author: Ella James
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Barkley’s Books
Publication Date: February 2012
Pages: 210
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):13490992

Milo Mitchell’s life used to be charmed, but that was before her father died, she went a little crazy, and her best friends started acting more like strangers. One Saturday morning as she roams the land around her family’s Colorado wind farm, tagging deer for a project that used to be her father’s, Milo makes a big mistake: a dart from her stun-gun takes down a teenage guy.

Dressed in a Brinoi tux and armed with a perfectly starched handkerchief, the guy looks like a young James Bond – or some country’s missing, playboy prince. Trouble is, he could be either. Mr. Mystery has no idea who or where he is. Afraid her dart caused his amnesia, Milo takes him in, names him Nick, and tries to get used to a hot guy sharing her bedroom.

But Milo’s Nick is more than he appears. Soon the pair find his face in a newspaper obituary, and Nick beings to have memories of Milo–who is sure she’s never met him. If ‘Nick’ survived a plunge off a steep cliffside on his way to a family camping trip, why did Milo find him dozens of miles away, wearing a freshly pressed tuxedo? If he’s just a high-school athlete, why does he have moves like Jason Bourne? And why does he feel more for her than his surviving family?

When a train of black SUVs shows up on Mitchell property, Nick and Milo run–toward a shocking conclusion that could destroy both their worlds.

My Review:

Whilst tagging deer for a project, Milo Mitchell never expected to come across anyone in the woods. Let alone a gorgeous stranger dressed in a tuxedo… and perhaps shooting him with her dart gun by accident wasn’t the best way to make a good first impression. To make things stranger – after having been shot, the well dressed stranger can’t remember anything about himself – not even his name. Milo takes in the stranger and giving him a change of clothes, a new name – ‘Nick’ – and a place to stay till they figure out what to do next. The stranger appearance of Nick isn’t the only weird thing happening in the small town of Golden. The electricity starts acting up and Nick finds himself knowing things that should be impossible to recall.

Milo and Nick start a quest to find who he may have been before they met in the woods. But Milo and Nick aren’t the only ones looking for answers… and things are not going to go well if they find Nick before he finds out who he is.

I love the vibe of this novel. It’s such a fun and quick read. Milo’s a little lost in the world after he father died but she’s keeping it together well. If you call hanging out in the woods tracking deer a good thing. She still manages to have a group of good friends, hobbies and a fairly healthy social life. She’s responsible and I like the mixture of level-headedness mixed with romantic wonder that she has. She’s brave and a great match for Nick.

This book is mostly told from Milo’s point of view but every now and then Ms. James switches things up and we get to see the world from Nick’s perspective. It’s an interesting way to show how things are not quite right for the boy – more than just some fairly extensive amnesia. Whilst I liked the look into him and his thoughts – I think I would have liked him more as a character had he been a bit more mysterious. Because we get to see him confused and vulnerable but only in short snippets – I didn’t really find him a desirable male lead. He’s not a bad boy nor is he the boy next door or any of those other categories that I like my leading men to fit into. He’s just a little lost and for the most part a little bland.

That said – I loved the action. This book is well paced with some characters that amused me and made me want to keep reading. Milo is sweet but a little damaged and I feel like Nick has potential to grow into someone who I really root for. This is a book I’d recommend for fans of Jennifer L Armentrout’s Lux series and not just because of the scifi-ness they have in common. It’s a well written exciting book and there is no doubt – I will definitely be reading the second book in the Here series.

Purchase the novel from:

 Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Teaser

I shouldn’t have come to Milo’s house, but I was riding for my life, and when I thought about it ending, all I’d wanted—literally the only thing I thought about—was her.

It was startling, the clarity, the sense of purpose, because shortly after I saw Milo’s concert, I got mind-jacked. I didn’t know by what, but the presence had a serious hard-on for calculus and physics, other things I shouldn’t know or care about. I had a freaky suspicion that it was the Real Me, and that the Real Me was some kind of wizard/astrophysicist.

I spent two days in my bed after it happened, hung over on numbers, figures, but by the third day I could handle it. And my superpower had come back, stronger.

I knew intuitively how to control the van, how many meters away the Harley was when I landed, how to start it, how to drive it.

I ran for it as the van spun, tires screeching as it turned to come back for me. It had been modified, was faster than the bike, but I knew the town grid completely, and I’d clogged their fuel injector, which meant that ten minutes after our little chase started, I had lost them.

I doubled back, took an indirect path to get to Milo’s house. I didn’t want to leave an easy trail. When I pulled up and they were nowhere to be seen, I thought I had evaded them, told myself I had gotten away. But it wasn’t until I saw Milo that I realized what I’d done. I should have added to my lead, driven far away, stolen another bike, a car, hopped a train, gone anywhere but were I was. Where she was.

And what did I get for my utter stupidity?

Milo, wide-eyed and concerned. Milo, rubbing my back, tapping my knee. Milo heedless of the danger. Milo, achingly close.

She was leaning over me now, blowing on the scrape she’d just cleaned. “That feel any better?”

I nodded, my nose and forehead digging into her blankets.

“Good.” I felt her hand trail up my spine, then lift away and land atop my hair.

“You can go to sleep, you know. I’ll keep watch, just in case.”

I shook my head, dizzy from the pill and her soft hand. “I need to…leave…”

 

About Ella James

Ella James is a Colorado author who writes teen and adult romance. She is happily married to a man who knows how to wield a red pen, and together they are raising a feisty two-year-old who will probably grow up believing everyone’s parents go to war over the placement of a comma.

Ella’s books have been listed on numerous Amazon bestseller lists, including the Movers & Shakers list and the Amazon Top 100; two were listed among Amazon’s Top 100 Young Adult Ebooks of 2012.

To find out more about Ella’s projects and get dates on upcoming releases, find her on Facebook at facebook.com/ellajamesauthorpage and follow her blog, http://www.ellajamesbooks.com. Questions or comments? Tweet her at author_ellaj or e-mail her at ella_f_james@ymail.com.

Author Links

Website | Facebook | Twitter 

Book Review: Origin by Jennifer L Armentrout

Origin (Lux, #4)

Title: Origin (Lux #4)
Author: Jennifer L Armentrout
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Aliens, Sci-Fi, Contemporary 
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: 27 August 2013
Pages: 366
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything.

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on?

And will they even be together?

My Review:

This is one of those series that keeps getting better with each new instalment. In Origin, Katy finds herself captured by the Daedalus and all her worst nightmares come true. Even hearing about what happened to Dawson and Bethany didn’t really prepare Katy for what life as captive hybrid would bring. And then there’s Daemon. Nothing on Earth – or even on an alien planet – could stop him from saving the girl he loves.

For all those Daemon fans – I think he really shines in this one. He’s arrogant, sarcastic but willing to give up everything for Katy. The snarky sarcastic conversations he has were a highlight for me. I love the way Katy and Daemon interact and I’m really rooting for this pair as a couple!

In many ways Origin is a turning point in the series. The first three books were mostly about the love story and the action was secondary. But now things have changed. Don’t worry – there’s still plenty of fluffy tenderness between the leading pair but the war between our favourite Luxens and the world… it’s only just getting started. The dual point-of-view between Katy and Daemon helps bring the urgency of their situation to light. I loved getting to see how Daemon felt about Katy from his eyes and I think this is part of the reason why I’m behind them romantically. They’re growing up and it’s clear to see that Katy isn’t the same girl she was at the start of Obsidian. She’s seen the worst life has to offer but she’s stronger than I ever expected.

I loved the action in this book. Things are happening and they’re happening FAST! Some brilliant new characters are introduced (I want to know more about Archer!) and some old ones reappear. There’s a cameo appearance of Hunter and Serena from Obsession (JLA’s adult paranormal romance novel that’s set in the same universe as the Lux novel). Armentrout isn’t afraid to put her characters though hell and I respect her for that.

For all the fans who have been eagerly anticipating Origin since the cliff-hanger at the end of Opal – I think you’ll be satisfied and impressed with how things unfold in Origin. This book is exciting, cheeky and romantic. My favourite from this series by far.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon| Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Blog Tour (with review): A Beautiful Fate by Cat Mann

BlogTour_BF

Title: A Beautiful FateA Beautiful Fate Cover

Author: Cat Mann

Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance

Pages: 312

Rating: 3 stars

Book Description (goodreads):

Obsessive and driven by nightmares, Ava Baio is uprooted from her Chicago home after the untimely and tragic death of her loving mother. Taken across country by her antagonistic grandmother and placed as a boarding student at a school in Dana Point, California, Ava struggles with isolation and the loss of her mother and her grandfather. Faced with having left her beloved brownstone behind and attending a new school, surrounded by new faces and unfamiliar scenery, she finds herself sorting through unfamiliar and uncharted feelings with a strange and beautiful boy, Ari – a modern day Adonis. After an unconventional start to their relationship, Ava becomes intensely absorbed by her love for Ari, and with his help and the help of his family, she discovers who she really is – a Fate descended from Atropos. She learns that the Greek mythology she grew up reading is not comprised of myth after all.

Ava faces constant challenges both in her relationship with Ari and with the fact that she is being hunted by six threatening and ruthless men who want nothing more than for her to die so that they can live forever. She has no choice but to stand up for those she has come to love. In doing so, she becomes something she hates, a killer.

A true page-turner, A Beautiful Fate is Part one of The Beautiful Fate Series. The novel is full of suspense, romance and the allure of ancient Greece. Ava and Ari will leave the reader hoping the story will never end.

 

Review:

Ava Baio feels all alone. Her mother dies and as a result she’s transplanted from Chicago to a boarding school in California. Her only living relative is a grandmother who seems to want nothing to do with her and her best friend is half way across the country. Plagued with nightmares about creepy hallways and ominous scissors, Ava has no relief against the torment. Until she meets Ari – an Adonis who seems like he stepped out of a Greek Myth – and it’s only though him and his family that Ava learns about the father she never knew, her place in the universe and the mythological threat that wants nothing more than to see her dead…

There’s a lot I liked about this book. The setting in the picturesque Dana Point, California, as well as whole idea of Greek fates controlling destiny. The cover of this book is rather appropriate and I found myself liking the cover more the more I read Ava’s story.

I found the character of Ava to be inconsistent in her behaviour. Her relationship with Ari was frustrating with the way she would run hot and cold. She would be furious with him for ignoring her then let him in her to comfort her in the dark of night. And then she would be proud that he was making strides in his attempt to publicly acknowledge their relationship and then because he didn’t smile at her, she’s storm off in a huff only to let him in to her dorm room at 2am again that same night. I also didn’t like how she treated her grandmother. Yes – we find out that Mrs Baio isn’t the lovely warm fuzzies grandmother that Ava wants but I thought that Ava used and abused the older woman. She takes the free clothes, brand new car and all the trimmings that go along with being related to a fashion designer but then Ava would turn around and be incredibly rude to her.

Ari’s one of those characters who are just a little too good to be true – as is his family. Practically perfect in everywhere from their house to the way they’d interact with each other and how accepting they were of Ava. That said – they did add a lot to the whole feeling of the novel. I liked the way that Ava was when she was with them.

Plot wise – this book is full of suspense and action. At times it felt a little too quick but I enjoyed how it played out. Cat Mann sure is cruel to Ava with all that she puts her heroine through! That said, there is a lot more romance than action in this book and as I wasn’t too fond of the main character, I think I would have preferred more plot and less about Ava and Ari’s blossoming relationship.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for book 2 because the cliffhanger has me on edge wondering just what is going to happen next.

 

Thanks to the author for the review copy.

 

 

Teaser

Ari and I lay interwoven together in bed. I felt his hand run down the length of my back. I blinked my eyes open. It was only two in the morning.

“When is doing something you know is wrong the right thing to do?” he asked.

Snuggling deeper into his chest, I thought about his question. I knew what was worrying Ari. Could I do it, could I kill?

Everyone comes from somewhere. Some of us come from good and others from bad. The best part about life is that we have the ability to rise above the situation we find ourselves in; we are dealt certain cards, yes, but we don’t have to cheat to win. My father made the wrong choice; Andy made the right one. I hoped I would make the right ones, too. We were at war, a silent war that would not be reported on the news or told in any history books. The first battle was with ourselves as we decided how to deal with our internal conflicts on a day-to-day basis. Should I choose what’s right or should I choose what’s wrong?

Unfortunately, the line between right and wrong isn’t always cut and dried. The Kakos came from bad, the lowest of the low, and decided to try to go lower. They are direct descendants of Hades. Their blood is not watered down or tainted. They are literal spawns of Satan. They possess no soul and therefore feel no grief or regret for their actions. The Kakos’ ultimate goal is to live forever on earth. They escaped from hell eons ago, tracked down and tricked a descendant of a Fate, who agreed to allot them more time.

They followed this pattern for centuries until finally, the idea came to them that if there were no Fates, there would be no more cutting of their threads, and they would be free to live on earth forever. They then set out to kill every descendant from Clotho, Atropos and Lachesis they could find until they got to my father, the last known Fate on earth. He had made a covenant with the Kakos and then had broken his promise. As a result, the Kakos had declared war on every last Greek descendant. The Greeks could side with the Kakos or they could die.

I was the only weapon the Greeks had, but what do I know about war? I’m a seventeen-year-old girl. I have not yet discerned the path my life will take…and I am supposed to go up against the devil’s brood? If I fail, I die. Eventually the Kakos will come for Andy, Aggie and Ari and everyone I love. Andy will have to choose whether to side with the enemy and spare his family’s life, or accept death. In my heart, I knew Andy would never back down and that his family would die a horrible death because of his decision.

If I hunted the Kakos down, then I would have blood on my hands. I would be a murderer, a sinner, and a criminal. I decided to refuse to murder anyone in cold blood. I saw myself as good and I did not want to tarnish my soul.

Ari had asked me how a person knows when the wrong thing to do is right. And I answered: “If I must do wrong to save someone I love, it is right. I will not murder anyone, Ari…but I will kill to save you.” I will protect my people, but I will not go out in search of blood.

Quotes

Ava: “I hate death — it’s so permanent and so unfair.” “Je t’aime aussi.”

Ari : ““I love the girl that’s in my bed.” “Your skin is soft and I can’t seem to keep my hands off it.”

About The Author

Catmann

Cat Mann has lived her entire life in central Illinois, but her interests and passions span the planet. She loves skiing, French music and working with the written language.
A self-proclaimed hermit, she is happiest at home reading, writing and scouring the far corners of the internet for new musical artists — artists she skillfully weaves into her tales of the offspring of ancient Greece. She is happily married to her amazing and awe-inspiring best friend, Derek Mann, and together they have created two beautiful daughters.
A Beautiful Fate is Cat’s first novel in The Beautiful Fate Series. The second installment of The Beautiful Fate Series, A Broken Fate, will be available August 26, 2013. Visit Cat on Facebook and keep up with Cat on her blog.

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