Shimmer – Book Review

Shimmer Cover

Plot:

Chandler Raines and her “dad” are on the run. Never staying in one place for very long. It’s just not safe. When they arrive in Lafayette, Louisiana, Chandler quickly realizes this is the place she wants to call home. Friends, a cute boy, and competitive cheerleading have her taking dangerous risks to have the life she always wanted. Risks she promised she wouldn’t take.

When her lies catch up to her, a decision has to be made. Stay or run? Will the evil that’s chased them for the last four years catch up to them? When Chandler’s past comes screeching into the present she’ll have to sacrifice everything to keep what she loves safe. But will it be enough?

Review:

When I started to read this book, I was immediately disappointed by it—but not for very long! The story starts off with the main character—who doesn’t actually use her real name but is referred to as Chandler Raines throughout the majority of the book—and right away I was wondering if I was actually reading the right book. As a sequel to Breathe, I was expecting Shimmer to follow the same characters (Jasmine, Easton, Lily, Caedan, etc.). And it did, eventually. While at first it was a little bit shocking, I actually really enjoyed this type of a sequel where it followed a new character but also showed their life interacting with the characters that had already been established.

So, with that being said, Shimmer takes place four years after Breathe, and follows Chandler and her father, who are on the run from some mysterious man who is chasing after them. They don’t stay in any one place for too long and try to keep as low a profile as possible.  However, Chandler is quite skilled at gymnastic tumbling and finds a gym in every city she moves to. This time is different though, as Chandler gets noticed by the cheer squad and quickly gets wrapped up in the world of competitive cheer, all behind her father’s back. This, of course, is a horrible idea for keeping a low profile, as cheerleading is not the type of sport where one can hide in the crowd, and especially not with tumbling skills as good as Chandler’s.

There is a lot of good drama, romance and plot in this book and I absolutely breezed through it I enjoyed it so much. After I got over my initial aversion to the introduction of a new main character, I fell in love with Chandler and her story. Overall I give this book 5/5 stars.

Breathe – Book Review

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Plot:

Jasmine’s life wasn’t normal for a 16 year old girl. It hadn’t been normal since the murder of her older sister, Daisy, two years ago. Her life had been changed forever. The monster that murdered Daisy was never caught. That was the reason her family decided to move away from their hometown in Southern California, to start over. Hopefully in a place where the last name Rourke wouldn’t bring on staring or judgment or morbid curiosity.

In Lafayette, Louisiana things are quite a bit different but in a good way. Good manners, Cajun accents and a whole lot of Southern Hospitality all make her think things are going in the right direction. On top of that the most gorgeous boy she has ever met is interested in her. Her new friends are better than she could have hoped for even if she is worried about what they might think when they find out who she is. Life would be perfect if odd things didn’t keep happening. Creepy phone calls, texts, and flowers in her locker start adding up quickly to something terrifying. Could the Monster have followed them to Lafayette? Was he coming after her this time? Maybe she was just worrying unnecessarily…or not.

Review:

From the very beginning, this book had me hooked and kept me all the way through til the very end. It’s not often that a book has me voraciously reading to find out what happens, but this one did, and I absolutely loved it.

As if Jasmine didn’t have enough to deal with after the murder of her sister, the person who killed Daisy was never caught, so her family decides to move halfway across the country to Lafayette, Louisiana, where they hope that things will be better. And things do get better, for a while.

Jasmine meets the world’s dreamiest Southern gentleman, Easton Ward. I only wish that I could be in Jasmine’s position because Easton sounds just like my dream guy. This may have had something to do with how much I loved the book but I think that the story itself was captivating as well.  The plot flowed well from event to event and kept me guessing at all the right points, which I appreciate in a book.

Overall I give this book 5/5 stars and I’m super excited to finish reading the sequel, Shimmer. If you love suspense, strong female characters and good Southern hospitality, you’ll definitely like this book.

Summer Demons – Book Review

Summer-Demons-jpg-for-webPlot:

Jenna Shaw ran away to escape her past. In fact, she jumped on a plane and flew to Portugal to try and forget it. However, it turns out leaving everything behind isn’t as easy as it sounds.

She thought she could move on and break free of her fears—that if she had some space, the pain would stop. But as memories resurface due to an ill-timed joke, the past crashes into her present once more and she didn’t see it coming.

Jenna’s plans for normality are derailed by the charismatic Ethan Brooks. She sees him as an annoyance; he sees her as a challenge. But as he tries every trick known to him to impress her, they only serve to push her further away. He’s never faced this problem before and Ethan has to work harder than he ever has if he wants to win over and help his mysterious girl.

Review:

While I’m not usually a fan of short novellas, I was intrigued by Summer Demons‘ description and occasionally I am a sucker for a romance novel. Also, and this might be terrible of me, the book has a really pretty cover. Hey, I’m only human, right?

Anyways, after a bit of a slow start, this book really picked up for me. I found myself intrigued by Ethan’s persistence in trying to woo Jenna, despite her seeming to be vehemently against his advances. After a bit of persuasion from her friend Amy, Jenna finally gives Ethan a shot and the two turn out to be really good for one another.

Even though this was a short and quick read, Summer Demons left me thinking about many important things, like how you never really can tell what someone is going through simply by looking at them. Just because someone looks happy or at ease doesn’t always mean that’s the case. A simple, “harmless” action can affect people in ways unknown, and Ethan learns this when he first attempts to hit on Jenna by knocking her off of a pool raft. While his intentions were good, Ethan had no clue that Jenna was ridiculously afraid of the water due to recent experiences. This, and other events in the book, show that it is difficult to tell what someone is going through solely based on appearances and that people should think more before they act.

Overall I give the book 3.5/5 stars.

 

Dark Child (The Awakening) – Book Review

dark child

Plot:

Lately things have been getting weird for pathology technician Kat Chanter. She’s been craving raw meat, and having dreams so realistic they’re scary. When she accepts a job offer from the prestigious Hema Castus Research Institute, she hopes she’ll have the chance to discover what’s wrong with her, but instead, her move to New York thrusts her headlong into a treacherous hidden world, where the wrong move could be fatal . . .

Tarot, witchcraft and astrology all take on a frightening resonance in Dark Child‘s richly imagined alternative reality where vampiric beings live among us, hidden by magic. Dark romance tangles with paranormal fantasy and page-turning suspense in this enthralling tale of ‘dark child’ Kat Chanter, half-human and half-vampire, who has woken an ancient prophecy and must face a formidable destiny.

Review:

I was first drawn to this book because it was recommended for fans of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series. Having really enjoyed what I’ve read so far from that series, I decided to give this book a go.

The first thing that I noticed about this book is that it is actually five “episodes: stitched together to make one book. While reading, I was always on the lookout to see if I could tell where each episode ended, and I never once found such a place. The writing flowed well and kept me very interested in the characters’ stories.

Perhaps one of the things that bothered me the most about this book was how “stereotypically YA fantasy” it was. Kat’s body starts going through really weird changes. She wonders “oh my goodness, what’s wrong with me???” She then discovers that she is a part of a secret world she never knew about, due to her absent father, about whom Kat knows absolutely nothing. Well, turns out he had some secrets that he was keeping. Surprise!

Even though Kat has all this new information thrust upon her, she never once says “You people are nuts!”, and in fact just sort of blindly accepts that whatever these weirdos are saying must be true. Okay, Kat, making real good decisions there.

Then, among the Tabérin people (aka the quasi-vampires), there is a feud among the two different factions. Because there has to be some sort of added drama, right?

To top it all off, there’s even a little love-triangle action going on towards the end of the book. Not nearly as bad as the love triangles in many other works, but nonetheless annoying. Can’t characters ever have “normal” love lives?

All of this being said, I really enjoyed reading this book and I think that the series has a lot of potential for future installments. I just wish that the book hadn’t taken the “How To Write a YA Novel Checklist” so seriously. I give this book 3.5/5 stars.

 

Grasping at Eternity – Book Review

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Plot:

Leave it to Maryah Woodsen to break the one rule that will screw up eternity: Never erase your memories.

Before entering this life, Maryah did the unthinkable—she erased. Now, at seventeen years old, she’s clueless that her new adoptive family has known her for centuries, that they are perpetually reincarnated souls, and that they have supernatural abilities. Oh, and she’s supposed to love (not despise) Nathan, the green-eyed daredevil who saved her life.

Nathan is convinced his family’s plan to spark Maryah’s memory is hopeless, but his love for her is undying. After spending (and remembering) so many lifetimes together, being around an empty version of his soulmate is heart shattering. He hates acting like a stalker, but has no choice because the evil outcast who murdered Maryah in their last lifetime is still after her.

While Maryah’s hunter inches closer, she and Nathan make assumptions and hide secrets that rip them further apart. Maryah has to believe in the magic within her, Nathan must have faith in the power of their love, and both need to grasp onto the truth before they lose each other forever—and discover just how lonely eternity can be.

Review: 

Grasping at Eternity surprised me in such a good way. The main character, Maryah Woodsen, is an Element, or at least she was until she decided to erase her memories forever. Maryah must deal with many difficult things, including the loss of her parents and brother, moving in with her godmother and growing apart from her best friend. In addition to all of this, Maryah has crazy dreams that are more than they appear to be.

The characters that the author has created are so intricate and nuanced. While there are a ton of characters, I never found myself trying to remember who was who and getting everyone confused. Karen Amanda Hooper did an amazing job of developing her characters and it makes this book a great read.

Unlike many YA books, I found myself being surprised by this book almost the whole way through, which doesn’t happen often. I didn’t find this book to be predictable at all. Also, the whole premise of the book was something new to me, and with all of the books out about witches and angels and whatnot, it was very refreshing to read something completely new.

Overall I really loved this book and have already added the other two books in the series to my never-ending to-read list. I give this book 4.5/5 stars.

Madly, Deeply – Book Review

Plot:

Annaleigh Wells and William Calloway had a love even the angels envied. It was as if the universe spun them toward one another, like the stars crafted their souls to fit perfectly together.

With a wedding on the horizon, fate had a change of heart. Whispered warnings from phantoms and morbid nightmares darkened every night—but even visions of the future couldn’t save Annaleigh.

Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s poem Annabel Lee, Crouch’s period romance Madly, Deeply tells the tale of love so great, it cannot be contained in just one life.

Review:

Madly, Deeply  is not your traditional love story.

Anna and Will are, well, madly, deeply in love with one another. Theirs is a love so perfect that it almost made me want to hurl. But not in a bad way, if that makes any kind of sense (it probably doesn’t).  And while their love for one another may be perfect, the other aspects of their lives are anything but. Both characters experience hardships in their lives that they must overcome.

The way that that Crouch writes makes for a very quick yet entertaining read, and once I actually allowed myself time to just sit and read, I made my way through this book very quickly. The plot flowed well and the characters were well developed.

Not being familiar with Poe’s poem “Annabel Lee” I didn’t know where the story was going. There were definitely many hints and clues sprinkled throughout the story, though I wouldn’t go so far as to call it predictable. That being said, afterwards I looked up the poem, even though each stanza was given its own place at the beginning of each of the six sections of the book. Overall I thought this book was a fantastic reimagination of Poe’s work.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

Since Forever Ago – Book Review

SinceForeverAgoPlot:

Fresh off the heels of a devastating breakup, Riley Benson is a mess. But with her ingenious plan to become a ball-busting heartbreaker herself, she’s pretty sure she’ll survive. After all, what better way is there to get revenge than to move on?

Riley’s determined to become the perfect bachelorette—she’s going to drink like a bro, belch like a beast and swear so much that she’ll make even the most seasoned sailors blush. After all, those are the qualities that every guy’s secretly looking for…. aren’t they?

Max Fletcher is in love with the girl who gave him chicken pox and his first broken leg. When his best friend seems to finally be out of the picture, he can’t help but want to keep Riley all to himself. And, after coaching her with the very best of the very worst love advice, it seems as if he might actually get what he’s wanted after all those years. But just as the two come to the realization that they’re actually kind of perfect for each other, along comes a secret that threatens to tear them apart.

Review:

Before I even started reading this book, I saw that reviewers had been giving it very negative reviews, so I tried to go in with as open a mind as possible and to not let others’ opinions influence my own.

The characters in Since Forever Ago are very realistic. While some reviewers have called them whiny, immature and clueless, I think that these characters are very much a representation of at least a good portion of those in the “new adult” age range. As a 19-year-old college student myself, I thought that Riley and her roommates Liz and Audrey portrayed new adults in a fairly accurate way. College students are notorious for partying too much, drinking too much and being overly dramatic, and the characters of this book represent just that. While these traits don’t describe all college students, it does describe a decent percent of them.

Riley is no hero. She drinks too much, swears like a sailor, and generally doesn’t have any part of her life figured out. But no one is perfect, and not all characters are hero types. Not everyone can be a Hermione or a Katniss. Riley showcases real emotions and often acts before she thinks. Just because she isn’t the empowered heroine doesn’t make her a bad character. She is just flawed, as everyone is, but perhaps just a bit more.

This book does have a lot of swearing and a few sex scenes, if that bothers you. While this book definitely wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever read, I enjoyed it and thought it was very funny. I found the characters and the story easy to relate to, and it was a very fast read.

I give this book 3.5/5 stars.

YA Book Reviews

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