Book Review: Until I Die by Amy Plum

Title: Until I Die (Reverants #2)
Author: Amy Plum
Genre: paranormal romance; urban fantasy; zombies
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date:  May 2012
Pages: 357 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.

As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.

In Die for Me, Amy Plum created a captivating paranormal mythology with immortal revenants and a lush Paris setting. Until I Die is poised to thrill readers with more heart-pounding suspense, spellbinding romance, and a cliff-hanger ending that will leave them desperate for the third and final novel in the series.

My Review:

After reading and enjoying Die For Me so much, I was excited to read Until I Die. Picking up right where the first instalment left off Kate is busy navigating exactly what being the girlfriend of a Reverant means. Determined to find a way to help Vincent resist the call that puts himself in mortal danger, Kate uses her grandfather’s library and other slightly more risky resources to find answers to her questions. Vincent – in an effort to keep Kate in his life – uses his own methods to fight his destiny. With Vincent’s secret draining his strength and the Numas regrouping, the Reverants need assistance. With reinforcements being brought into Paris and the Numas still a threat despite Kate (with Vincent’s help) taking out their leader.

I love this series. When I read a book I normally take notes. About the characters, the plot, names (because I’m hopeless and forget how to spell half of them) and all sorts of other things. But for Until I Die I didn’t take a single note. I was that absorbed in the story.

The Reverants (both the good and the bad) are an interesting type of supernatural creature I’ve not seen before. They’re slightly dangerous, fascinating and I enjoy finding out more about them and their history as Kate gets herself more involved in their world.

At the core of this book is the love story of Kate and Vincent. They’re sweet and unlike in many young adult paranormal novels, I really feel like they deserve each other. Kate’s intelligent and despite trying to all she can to help Vincent, she has her own life and interests. She’s still there for her sister and trying to be a good granddaughter – even when things get tricky. Jules’ flirtatious banter with Kate is brilliant and cheeky but harmless. I love that there is no love triangle centred around the leads.

The supporting characters are what make this a five-star read for me. From Georgia to Jules, Violette to Arthur – they’re all fantastic in their own way. Their personalities and own stories add to the overall plot in a way that enriches the world in which the Reverants series is set.

Paris, fantastic characters and a plot that kept me interested right up until the last page – Until I Die was a pleasure to read. The last book in the series, If I Should Die, is released in May 2013 and I for one can not wait to find out how everything goes for the Reverants.

Purchase the novel from:

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Book Review: Die For Me by Amy Plum

Title: Die For Me (Reverants #1)
Author: Amy Plum
Genre: paranormal romance; urban fantasy; zombies
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: 10 May 2011
Pages: 341 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier’s parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life–and memories–behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate’s guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he’s a revenant–an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

My Review:

Kate Mercer is devastated after her parents are killed in a car accident. Her sister (and now technically her guardian) decides that the best thing for the two of them is to relocate from New York to their grandparents’ house in Paris. Still reeling from the tragedy to strike her family, Kate becomes a shadow of her former self. Then she meets Vincent – strange and mysterious yet chivalrous Vincent. Feeling like she should hold her heart back from the odd gorgeous boy but not being able to resist his charm, Kate falls for Vincent only to find out she might not be able to handle his special kind of supernatural abilities.

I love books that are set in a far off distant land and the city is well and truly a part of the story. I recently read a book apparently set in Italy and it could have been set anywhere. But in Die For Me, Paris is almost a character itself. One of those books where after I read about the places Kate goes and the vibe of the city and it makes me want to go to Europe.

I loved the pace of this novel. I know, it might sound a little weird for the pace to be the first thing that comes to mind for me but some first in the series books can be a bit of an info dump – too much too soon with too many details that I keep feeling the need to flick back and re-read those sections all the time. But I really liked learning about Vincent and the others along with Kate and their specific supernaturalness. The secondary characters are brilliant – I thought the way they got to tell their stories and the way they interact with each other was fantastic to read. I loved seeing Kate evolve as a character but seeing the others flourish around her (like Georgia and Jules) was amazing.

Fun characters, interesting and fantastic zombies (and coming from a zombie hater that’s something) and not too much of that teen angst that some YA novels seem to be bursting to the brim with. It’s probably not surprising to hear that as soon as I finished Die For Me (at 1am) I instantly jumped online to buy a copy of the second book in the series, Until I Die.

 

Purchase the novel from:

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Read for the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge


Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Paris
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: December 2010
Pages: 384 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris – until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near – misses end with the French kiss Anna – and readers – have long awaited?

My Review:

I’ve been hearing so many good things about this book since it was released two years ago. I’ve had a copy for a while but kept putting it off because I often find that my expectations get out of control and I end up disappointed when there is so much love around for a particular novel.

Happily, this was not the case with me and Anna and the French Kiss. It’s a sweet story of Anna who – despite her own wishes – gets shipped off to Paris for her senior year of high school. Her father (a famous novelist who from the sound of things is the next Nicholas Sparks) wants to appear more cultured in his circle of friends. His solution for this is to send his daughter away from her mother and younger brother so she can spend her senior at a prestigious French boarding school in the heart of Paris’ Latin Quarter.

I love books set in boarding schools. And books set in Paris (or really anywhere in Europe). So add a somewhat naive 17-year-old and a gorgeous boy with incredible hair and a British accent and it’s probably no surprise that this book had me swooning.  I didn’t want it to end.

For me, the key to my enjoyment whilst reading a contemporary romance is to have a hearty dose of realism. These characters aren’t perfect. Anna was, at times, slightly frustrating and St Clair was broken is his own way. But it was because of these flaws that these characters had such an effect on me. They’re fantastic on their own but I was really pulling for them as a couple even when things seemed impossible.

I loved the supporting characters too – I wanted to know more about all of them. Both the ones still in the US and Anna’s new classmates in Paris. They all have their own stories and baggage.

This is a very sweet romance that’s fun, flirty and set in France.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository