Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Defy by Sara B. LarsonDefy by Sara B. Larson
Series: Defy #1
Published by Scholastic Press on January 7, 2014
Pages: 336
Source: the publisher
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A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?

Defy had so much potential to be a great high fantasy read, but the romance overtook it and the rest of the plot took a back-seat. Honestly, I was scared to read this book after the negative reviews I had read. I tried to push those reviews to the back of my mind and I tried to go into this book with a clear head. Overall, it wasn’t an awful read. It was still enjoyable, but the negative parts were too negative to be ignored.

One of the biggest positives for this book? Sara B. Larson is a stunning writer. Her prose was beautiful and flowed nicely. She was descriptive and vivid and I could see everything perfectly in my mind.

I’m not sure if it’s possible to like a character’s voice, but not like the character. If it is, then that’s how I felt with Alexa. I didn’t dislike her, necessarily. But I certainly didn’t like her. There was nothing about her that stood out, nothing that made me want to cheer for her, to see her succeed. I very rarely felt bad for her. She was VERY repetitive – There was a certain revelation between her, Damian and Rylan. And once that revelation was known, Alexa constantly brought it up. I know that’s kind of vague, but it’s a big spoiler if I say more. But it was something that she just kept harping on and saying over and over, every time Damian or Rylan did something she didn’t like. There’s also a LOT of useless inner monologue and thought.

I loved Damian. He was an awesome character. I should have hated him, because he was very cocky and slightly full of himself. He even admits at one point that he’s a spoiled brat. But there was something about him that drew me to him, especially when he let his guard down. In those moments, we saw the real Damian.

I hated Rylan. I just did. He was so unnecessary, it was almost laughable. The love triangle was so forced. This book did NOT need a love triangle. Some books work well with love triangles and some books just DON’T need it. Defy did NOT need it. Rylan didn’t even do anything – He was like Damian’s shadow – he did the things Damian did AFTER Damian did them – like running after Alexa after she had stormed away. Damian got there first and it took a good 5-10 minutes before Rylan showed up, like it was an after-thought.

The deaths in this book were pretty devastating. Two of my favorite characters were killed – one very early on. That definitely made me sad. There were some very powerful moments in Defy, though. Some very touching, some very emotional. Those moments definitely made some of the other things a little more.. tolerable. But not completely. The ways in which we were shown the King’s cruelty were.. despicable, overdone and – I’m using this word a lot in this review – unnecessary.

There were a lot of revelations near the end, some of which I had a feeling about and some that took me by surprise. One revelation at the very, very end.. Well, I expected more of a reaction from a few people when something was revealed, and we didn’t get that reaction. So that was unfortunate.

The ending did not need to be left open for a sequel – and there is a sequel, apparently. Everything could have been wrapped up perfectly. This book reads like a stand-alone and would have been perfect as a stand-alone. The only thing left hanging was the love triangle.. Which was unnecessary and annoying.. And that could have been wrapped up in Defy, too. So.. See where I’m going with this?

I know some people loved Defy. So I’m not going to say I wouldn’t recommend it – I’m sure there are some people who will love what I hated. Especially those who love books that focus on the romance. But I won’t be going out of my way to recommend it, either. And I likely won’t bother reading the sequel.


Review: The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Almost Girl by Amalie HowardThe Almost Girl by Amalie Howard
Published by Strange Chemistry on January 7, 2014
Pages: 416
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Riven is as tough as they come. Coming from a world ravaged by a devastating android war, she has to be. There’s no room for softness, no room for emotion, no room for mistakes. A Legion General, she is the right hand of the young Prince of Neospes, a parallel universe to Earth. In Neospes, she has everything: rank, responsibility and respect. But when Prince Cale sends her away to find his long-lost brother, Caden, who has been spirited back to modern day Earth, Riven finds herself in uncharted territory.

Thrown out of her comfort zone but with the mindset of a soldier, Riven has to learn how to be a girl in a realm that is the opposite of what she knows. Riven isn’t prepared for the beauty of a world that is unlike her own in so many ways. Nor is she prepared to feel something more than indifference for the very target she seeks. Caden is nothing like Cale, but he makes something in her come alive, igniting a spark deep down that goes against every cell in her body. For the first time in her life, Riven isn’t sure about her purpose, about her calling. Torn between duty and desire, she must decide whether Caden is simply a target or whether he is something more.

Faced with hideous reanimated Vector soldiers from her own world with agendas of their own, as well as an unexpected reunion with a sister who despises her, it is a race against time to bring Caden back to Neospes. But things aren’t always as they seem, and Riven will have to search for truth. Family betrayals and royal coups are only the tip of the iceberg. Will Riven be able to find the strength to defy her very nature? Or will she become the monstrous soldier she was designed to be?

The Almost Girl was such an amazing read, I couldn’t put it down. I basically read the entire book in one day. Right away, the prologue pulled me into the story and refused to let go. Amalie Howard does an amazing job of jumping right into the plot, keeping a fast-pace from start to finish. The second half, especially, has revelation after revelation! Some I saw coming and some caught me completely by surprise!

I absolutely adored Riven. She is a tough-as-nails character with a spunky attitude. She is very determined and strong – definitely NOT a damsel in distress. She can take care of herself and protect herself. We need more characters like this in young adult fiction! Riven definitely goes through a LOT in this book. She grew up in Neospes, a place that is the polar opposite of Earth. She had a rough childhood – and childhood is very different in Neospes to begin with!

The revelations Riven deals with in the second half of the book are pretty insane, but Riven holds herself together well, considering. Two revelations, in particular, really threw me for a loop. I definitely had my suspicions, but it’s still nice to get that confirmation.

Caden was an interesting character. I was a bit indifferent towards him in the beginning. He was sarcastic and playful, if not a bit cheesy. But about halfway through, he really began to come into his own. I loved that he was a fencer (I’m not sure why, but I find that to be a fascinating sport and I love when authors have it in their books) and I loved how that helped him later in the story. He took everything he learned in stride.

I can’t stress enough that the revelations in the second half of the book were insane! And the revelations Caden faced were no exception! I thought I had everything figured out – and then Howard pulled the rug out from under us and I was completely mind-blown by what we found out.

I loved the banter between Riven and Caden. I enjoyed the slow-build up with their relationship. There was definitely insta-attraction, but it took awhile for Riven to come to terms with her feelings for Caden.

Another character I loved was Shae. She was hilarious, strong and always prepared. I loved her relationship/banter with Caden and I loved seeing her and Riven interact. I don’t want to give too much away, so I can’t say much more than that. I also loved June and Mrs. Taylor – the revelations with them were pretty crazy, though I definitely had my suspicions about them. I hated Sadie, but that was to be expected, since she was the “mean girl.” Also, Riven’s father? Insane. Riven describes him as a “madman,” and that’s definitely accurate.

I know I keep using the word “revelation” and it’s probably a little repetitive at this point, but there were just so many revelations, especially from the 50% mark until the end. It was literally one after another! It definitely keeps you on your feet! They made the ending pretty crazy. Some of them ripped my heart out, though, and I CANNOT wait for the second book (which will be out later this year, I believe) because I need to see what happens next! I definitely, definitely recommend this book!


Review: A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra HarveyA Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey
Series: The Lovegrove Legacy #1
Published by Walker Childrens on January 7, 2014
Pages: 496
Source: the publisher
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In 1814, three cousins—Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope—discover their family lineage of witchcraft when a binding spell is broken, allowing their individual magical powers to manifest. Now, beyond the manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, an alluring underworld available only to those with power is revealed to the cousins. By claiming their power, the three cousins have accidentally opened the gates to the underworld. Now ghouls, hellhounds—and most terrifying of all, the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters—are hunting and killing young debutante witches for their powers. And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders…because she keeps finding the bodies. Can the cousins seal the gates before another witch is killed…or even worse, before their new gifts are stripped away?

A Breath of Frost was a very frustrating book for me. I’ve read all of Alyxandra Harvey’s other books (The Drake Chronicles, Haunting Violet and Stolen Away) and I’ve loved them all. But the thing that bugs me? Harvey’s writing style is very confusing. I don’t know if it’s just me, or if others have noticed it, too. But I noticed it in Hearts at Stake (Drake Chronicles #1) and in A Breath of Frost.

When I first read Hearts at Stake, I was 80 pages in and so confused, I had to stop and start again. And to read book two, I had to re-read book one. Finally, on that third try, I didn’t feel as confused. Well, something very similar happened with A Breath of Frost. I found myself re-reading chunks of the story, trying to figure out what was going on. Something would happen and then twenty pages later, it was referenced again and I’d sit there going, “Wait.. I don’t remember that happening…” And all of a sudden, they would mention a character and I’d be like, “Wait.. When was this character introduced? I don’t remember!”

Now, I knew from reading her other books that Harvey was an amazing writer with intriguing plots and great characters. I knew if I could get passed the confusing parts, I’d likely love the story. Knowing these things, I pushed forward and, overall, I did enjoy it!

First of all, I love books set in the 19th century. Especially when the book takes place in London. I love the balls, the gowns, the debutantes, the horse-and-carriage mode of transportation. Just the idea of London “society” back then. And I love witches! I love reading about witches and watching shows about witches. So the plot definitely hooked me.

I loved Emma. Despite living in a different time period and being a witch, there was just something about her that made her feel relatable. Though the book is about all three of the Lovegrove cousins, I definitely felt like Emma was the focus of the story. We really got to know her and I felt like I understood what Emma was going through. She had a really cool power that she couldn’t always control – which definitely felt realistic. Sometimes, the main character finds out about a “supernatural” ability and can control it immediately. I hate that because, like anything else, magic needs to be practiced and learned over time.

There were some really shocking twists for Emma during the second half of the book. With the one, I basically figured it out almost immediately, but it’s still fun to get that confirmation. And the other one was completely unexpected, but it answered SO MANY QUESTIONS and everything finally made sense. I’m excited to see what that twist means for Emma in the next book!

Gretchen seemed to fight the most against being a “proper lady,” more so than Emma and Penelope, and I really liked that about her. When I read historical fiction like this, I always hope for a character like Gretchen who rebels like that, who doesn’t want the fancy balls or the seasons in London. She doesn’t want to be married off to the first guy who comes along. It gave her spunk and attitude. Plus, she (like Emma) had a really cool power. In addition to rebelling against society, Gretchen was also the most reluctant when it came to being a witch – which caused me to compare her to Piper from Charmed a lot!

Penelope, like her cousins, had a really cool power; however, of the three, she was my least favorite. There was nothing wrong with her, but she didn’t really stand out and I really can’t remember anything specific or interesting about her.

Now let’s talk about the main love interest… Cormac. Cormac was definitely a tough character to figure out. I kind of got annoyed after awhile with his back-and-forth allegiances. I didn’t like the fact that I had to stop and wonder, “Can he be trusted?” every other chapter. Very annoying. Plus, I wasn’t fully convinced of his and Emma’s feelings for one another. I can’t really see her with him.. I just didn’t like him and the romance didn’t feel believable or sincere enough.

Virgil was an ass. Daphne was obnoxious, though she had some redeeming qualities in the end. Sophie and Lilybeth were just… Whoa. I can’t even. Olwen reminded me of Luna from Harry Potter and I really liked her! I was also very intrigued by the mothers – Theodora, Bethany and Cora Lovegrove. I would have loved to see more of them in this, though we did see a LOT of Theodora’s background and I think those were some of my favorite parts!

The last 20% of the book was insane! A lot of things were revealed and a lot of things finally made sense! I was completely shocked when they finally did the big “reveal” – I didn’t see that coming!

Overall, I did really enjoy this book. The plot was really interesting and right up my alley. The characters were all really awesome – even the ones I wasn’t as crazy about. But the fact that the writing was so confusing really threw me off. This book would have been a solid 4-stars if it had not been for that. I just got so tired of constantly going back and re-reading big chunks of the story. I think if I were to re-read it at some point, it would likely be less confusing the second-time around, just as it was when I re-read Hearts at Stake. And less confusing would equal more enjoyable.

I would say, if you’ve read other books by Alyxandra Harvey, you’ll definitely enjoy A Breath of Frost! And if you haven’t read any of her other books yet, I’d recommend reading one of her others first – just so you can get used to her writing style.


Review: Pawn by Aimee Carter

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Pawn by Aimee CarterPawn by Aimee Carter
Series: The Blackcoat Rebellion #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on November 26, 2013
Pages: 296
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon


For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked - surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed, and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

I went into this book expecting one thing, and it was something else entirely. I don’t know how it happened or how I got so confused. I was positive I had read that, in order to move up in society, Kitty had to go through a labyrinth and fight her way to the end. And that, if she made it to the end, she would be rewarded with the society rank of a seven.

Despite the HUGE confusion this caused when I realized it wasn’t about that at all, I still really enjoyed this book. The plot and the writing were really interesting and very unique to the Dystopian genre. A lot of the “twists” and “shocking revelations” were not shocking, unfortunately. I found a lot of it very predictable. But again, that didn’t deter me from reading and I still found it interesting and unique.

As far as MC’s go, Kitty was kind of boring and passive. I felt indifferent towards her, I didn’t care what happened to her. It was almost like she was detached from her situation. She didn’t fight for anything, she just let it happen to her. I mean, being a good girl and behaving kept her alive, but all she did was complain about how she hated it and didn’t want to be a pawn and yet.. She didn’t fight. It wasn’t until the last twenty pages or so that Kitty finally started to stand up and rebel. She finally stood up for herself and what she believed in, and she did it with everything she had. At that point, I finally, finally liked Kitty.

Other characters I liked: Celia, Knox and Greyson. Celia was a bit crazy and intense, but she was also strong, brave and feisty. She believes so strongly in the things she fights for, even if her judgement is slightly clouded. And, above all, she stands up to Daxton and doesn’t let him shut her up.

While the love interests in this book weren’t exactly in a love triangle, I definitely felt myself taking sides. Benjy was okay, but I really, really loved Knox and I totally wanted him and Kitty to end up together. And finally, with Greyson… I can’t explain it, but there was just something about him. He was detached from his family and their craziness and he just wanted to be friend’s with Lila and be left alone to invent things.

Clearly, I hated Augusta and Daxton. Augusta was just crazy and insane. And Daxton was a manipulative jerk who.. Well, I don’t want to give anything away, but the revelation with his character was very intriguing!

Overall, despite the flat MC and predictability, I did still enjoy Pawn. I would have rated it a 4, had it not been for those things. I’m still looking forward to the second book in the series, especially since Kitty showed some promise at the end of Pawn. I’m excited to see what happens next.


Review: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Crash Into You by Katie McGarryCrash Into You by Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits #3
Published by Harlequin Teen on November 26, 2013
Pages: 474
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
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From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.

Crash Into You absolutely broke me and I loved every minute of it. Forget Book Hangover, this is a Book Coma! I have so many feels… The last third or so of the book was such an emotional roller-coaster! I’m pretty sure this might be my least coherent review ever…

So, let’s start with the obvious: I frickin’ LOVE Isaiah. We see small glances of him in Pushing the Limits and I knew I liked him and the dynamic between him, Noah and Beth. His personality was rough, yet it was obvious there was more to him. Because of his connection to Beth, we saw a lot of Isaiah in Dare You To. He had moments where my heart broke for him, and moments where I just wanted to slap him for the way he was treating Beth. Yes, he did it so she could create a better life for herself, because he was protective of her. But I still hated that they were fighting. I shipped Isaiah and Beth so hard in Pushing the Limits and Dare You To, it’s not even funny.

But in Crash Into You, Isaiah takes center stage and I swooned so hard over him. I was only twelve pages in when I fell hard for Isaiah, and he continued to sweep me off my feet the entire time. He opens himself up to Rachel and has moments of vulnerability that allow us to see underneath the tough exterior he has built around himself. He is fiercely loyal to those he calls friends/family. He doesn’t trust easily, but once he does, he puts it all on the line.

Rachel starts off painfully shy and, as she sees herself, weak. Rachel’s situation broke my heart for so many reasons and I could kind of relate to her and what she was going through – though my situation wasn’t nearly as bad as hers. The way her family treated her, especially her parents.. I just wanted to punch her parents! They were so obsessed with the past, so focused on pretending everything was okay and protecting one another from the truth. Secrets and lies invaded this family to a frightening degree and it cost them a lot. It almost cost them everything, in fact. In the end, they seemed to work things out, though they have a long way to go.

Rachel’s brothers irritated me a lot, too. They were way, way over-protective of her – though I also found some of the things they said and did hilarious! Ethan and West definitely grew on me, and I’m really excited for West’s story in May! Some of the things they put Rachel through, though, absolutely gave me a heart attack!

I hated Abby in the beginning. And then, about halfway through the book, she did something that surprised me and completely changed how I felt about her. As the story progressed, she came to be one of my absolute favorite “best friend” characters. I really hope she gets her own story at some point! I’d love to learn more about her and her life.

To be honest, before I started reading it, I wasn’t sure about Crash Into You. I’m not a big fan of street racing and though I know cars, I’m not a fanatic. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about Isaiah with someone that wasn’t Beth. But Rachel and Isaiah are amazing together. They have chemistry that can’t be denied and I absolutely love them as a couple! They are, without a doubt, my favorite couple of all Katie McGarry’s couples! And Crash Into You was absolutely my favorite of the books!

The ending was… INSANE! CRAZY! HEART-POUNDING! GASP-INDUCING! I mean… If you follow me on Goodreads, you can see my reactions to the last 25 or so pages. And if you don’t follow me on Goodreads, this is what it looked like (Apologies for the language! I was freaking out!):

Picture 3

Basically, I lost the ability to form coherent thought. INSANE! ALL THE FEELS! TOTAL BOOK COMA!

Katie McGarry is a truly gifted story-teller and I’m anxious for Take Me On (West’s story, May 2014). I’m fully prepared for all the feels *Stocks up on tissues* And if you haven’t read these books… WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GO GO GO!!!


Review: A Matter of Truth by Heather Lyons

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A Matter of Truth by Heather LyonsA Matter of Truth by Heather Lyons
Series: Fate #3
Published by Cerulean Books on November 5, 2013
Pages: 316
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Not long ago, Chloe Lilywhite seemingly had it all: a prized spot on the Magicals’ Council as lead Creator, a loving fiancé and Connection, and a wealth of good friends. But the poised young woman she projected was nothing more than a façade. Her parents all but disowned her. Power plays and accusations of murder within the Council rocked her confidence. And most difficult of all, her secret, a secondary Connection to Jonah’s twin brother, Kellan, became painfully impossible to resist. Desperate to gain control over her rapidly unraveling existence, Chloe did the unthinkable: she ran away.

Now living and working in Alaska under an alias, Chloe is slowly discovering who she is and, more importantly, who she wants to be. But the more she tries to leave the Magical world behind, the harder it becomes to stay hidden. The Elders are back with a vengeance, and the stakes have never been higher. Chloe finally has to make a choice: embrace her pre-ordained Fate or pave her own way in the worlds. One thing’s for sure, though—she’s finally up for the challenge.

*This is a New Adult title, suitable for readers 18+.

I have loved this entire series, including Jonah’s novella, Beyond Fate – though I’m totally Team Kellan *Swoons* But A Matter of Truth is my favorite installment in the series, hands down. I could simply say, “I loved everything about it,” and end the review right there, because it’s true. But I’ll try to go into more detail, without stepping into spoiler territory.

First of all, I loved seeing Chloe away from Annar. I know, I know – How is that possible? Jonah and Kellan are in Annar! But it allowed us to see a different side of Chloe, to see her alone and on her own without anyone or anything influencing her or her actions and decisions. We get to see how Chloe deals with every day life, using little to no magic.

The cast of characters that Chloe is surrounded with in Alaska – Will, Cameron, Paul, Frieda, etc – is amazing. I especially liked Will and Cameron. Though Will is no Jonah (Or, Kellan, really), he’s an amazing person and he’s always there for Chloe, no matter what. And Cameron is the dad Chloe deserves to have. I was a little bit suspicious of Cameron, though. I can’t totally put my finger on why, but I just had this weird feeling. Turns out, I was partially right in my suspicions!

A few times, I was so desperate to know what was happening in Annar, I almost wished for some kind of dual POV. But not knowing, just as Chloe didn’t know, added to the anxiety of her eventual return, when she would have to face the consequences of her actions.

The coupling in these books always amuses me! I love Cora and Raul, but wish we could have seen more of them. Will and Callie were hysterical together, and I’m excited to see how that unfolds. As for Cameron and Astrid, they were adorable!

I really hated Chloe’s mom in A Matter of Fate (Fate #1). Like, I despised her. As of now, I’ve downgraded that to just “dislike,” though it borderlines on “like.” I DID enjoy Jonah attacking her parenting style, though we didn’t actually get to see what he said. It was still funny to imagine!

Jonah was… Despite being Team Kellan, I really felt bad for Jonah in AMOT. So, so many feels! We saw some sides to him in AMOT that I don’t think we’ve seen before. I liked that his and Chloe’s fighting was realistic. Despite Fate shoving them together, they had to really work together to mend their broken relationship. They didn’t immediately fall back into their old habits, and that was great. But I felt so, so bad for Kellan. He always seems get the short end of the stick! Especially with Sophie.. Man, she was insane and scary and I kept waiting for her to try something. I’m still convinced she will in the next book! All I know is, Chloe and Kellan need to watch their backs!

The revelations and twists in this book were amazing. And the ending was shocking! I couldn’t believe when I finished reading and it just ENDED like that! I need more! I want more!! I have to see what happens next! Ack!!

As usual, Heather Lyons did an amazing, fabulous job and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book! If you haven’t read these books… Well, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?? GO!!! Check them out on Amazon! You won’t regret it, I promise you!!


Review: Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Olivia Twisted by Vivi BarnesOlivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes
Published by Entangled Teen on November 5, 2013
Pages: 352
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon


He tilts my chin up so my eyes meet his, his thumb brushing lightly across my lips. I close my eyes. I know Z is trouble. I know that being with him is going to get me into trouble. I don’t care.

At least at this moment, I don’t care.

Tossed from foster home to foster home, Olivia’s seen a lot in her sixteen years. She’s hardened, sure, though mostly just wants to fly under the radar until graduation. But her natural ability with computers catches the eye of Z, a mysterious guy at her new school. Soon, Z has brought Liv into his team of hacker elite—break into a few bank accounts, and voila, he drives a motorcycle. Follow his lead, and Olivia might even be able to escape from her oppressive foster parents. As Olivia and Z grow closer, though, so does the watchful eye of Bill Sykes, Z’s boss. And he’s got bigger plans for Liv…


I can picture Liv’s face: wide-eyed, trusting. Her smooth lips that taste like strawberry Fanta.

It was just a kiss. That’s all. She’s just like any other girl.

Except that she’s not.

Thanks to Z, Olivia’s about to get twisted.

Olivia Twisted was an intriguing and imaginative modern re-telling of Oliver Twist.

In the beginning, Olivia was withdrawn, for obvious reasons. Throughout the novel, though, she grows into a strong character, able to say no and stand up for herself. There aren’t enough strong female heroine’s in YA, so I loved that Olivia was strong, with a mind of her own. There’s no insta-love with Z, which was refreshing. She was attracted to him, yes, but she didn’t fall all over him. The build-up was slow and realistic. Honestly, Olivia and Z felt like the most believable, realistic YA couple I’ve seen in a long time.

I was not a fan of Z in the beginning. He was too cocky, too full of himself. But throughout the novel, he showed signs of the person he was underneath all that. He had moments of vulnerability that softened me to him, made me like him more. He was like Olivia’s Knight in Shining Armor at certain moments, and I loved how protective he was of her.

I was really suspicious of Olivia’s foster parents right from the beginning. But it was nothing like I expected. I was actually pretty caught off guard by what happened with them. On the flip side, a character I really loved was Sam. She was so fun and easy-going with Olivia, yet so hardened around Z. She had a kind of competitive rivalry with him that almost reminded me of sibling rivalry. It was an interesting dynamic. She always seemed kind of young and vulnerable, despite her tough-as-nails exterior.

The ending was very intriguing. Not only was it not what I expected, but it also broke some YA stereotypes. It wasn’t a cliche happily ever after. I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t go into further detail. But it was one of my top five favorite endings to a YA novel.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I loved Olivia, I loved the relationship that she builds with Z and I love how realistic and non-cliche it was. I loved that it broke some of the YA stereotypes. I would absolutely recommend this book to others!


Review: Waterfell by Amalie Howard

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Waterfell by Amalie HowardWaterfell by Amalie Howard
Series: The Aquarathi #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on October 29, 2013
Pages: 360
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon


Nerissa Marin hides among teens in her human form, waiting for the day she can claim her birthright—the undersea kingdom stolen from her the day her father was murdered. Blending in is her best weapon—until her father's betrayer confronts Nerissa and challenges her to a battle to the death on Nerissa's upcoming birthday—the day she comes of age.

Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do. But Lo Seavon breaches her defenses and somehow becomes the only person she can count on to help her desperate search for her mother, a prisoner of Nerissa's mortal enemy. Is Lo the linchpin that might win Nerissa back her crown? Or will this mortal boy become the weakness that destroys her?

I knew, almost immediately, that I was going to enjoy this book. The premise and plot, at least to me, were very original because I have not read anything like it before. I haven’t really read many mermaid books, honestly. When I was little, I loved to swim and I desperately wanted to become Ariel (*Clears throat* Sometimes I still do… *Coughs*). Yet, I never got into “mermaid” or “siren” books. But someone told me early on, before I even had my hands on an eARC, that this was NOT a mermaid story. At least, not in the traditional sense. That it was so much more than that. So going into it, I didn’t see it as a mermaid story and I was able to keep an open mind about it. And Waterfell didn’t disappoint. There was depth to it – pun intended. Howard’s writing style was enjoyable and I loved the plot and tone of the story.

Nerissa is an interesting character. In the beginning, she has an attitude of being better than everyone else. She can be mean and spiteful and she even talks down to her best friend, Jenna. She doesn’t want to be a princess. She doesn’t want to be a queen. She pushes fiercely against her royal heritage, against her home and her people. She both hates and is instantly attracted to Lo, which is confusing. As the story goes on, Nerissa grows and matures a lot. It takes her awhile, almost to the very end, but she grows up and comes to terms with her heritage, with who she is and who she is meant to be. The guilt of her attitude eats at her, and she attempts to make amends. Normally, I would be exasperated with a character like Nerissa – at least, the character she was in the beginning. But there’s so much growth and character development that honestly, I feel like she’s one of the most realistic YA characters I’ve seen in a long time.

Lo was… Hm. I don’t know how to explain this without giving away spoilers. But he caught my attention right from the beginning. He was arrogant and cocky and I didn’t trust him from just about the second he was introduced into the story. At 66% of the way through (I had a Kindle eARC via NetGalley, so it measured my progress in percentage, not pages), I made an assumption. I wrote it down in my notes. I had a feeling… And, from 88% – 90%, my suspicions were confirmed! If you follow me on Goodreads, you can check out my updates and my flailing over this. I won’t say more. I’ll spoil it. But let me just say… I KNEW IT!!!!!

I absolutely adored Jenna. She was the voice of reason and the awesome best friend. She didn’t let Nerissa talk down to her. She snapped back, fought back and did a good job of “snubbing” Nerissa when they fought. The friendship felt really real. Also, something happens and I was so happy it did! I just think the path her character goes down is perfect, makes sense and is very, very enjoyable.

I don’t know how to feel about Cara. She was supposed to be the “mean girl,” I guess, but we didn’t see her too often, usually just from a distance, scowling or snarling at Nerissa. I actually kind of felt bad for Cara, until she revealed something to Nerissa near the middle/end, and then I just wanted to slap her. We get a little bit of resolution near the end, which is great, but I found Cara more annoying than anything.

The end was awesome. I mean, like I said, by 66% I sort of knew where things were going so that took some of the shock value away. But getting confirmation that I was right? Priceless! And like.. I was dead-on. I wasn’t half-right or sort of right. I was TOTALLY and COMPLETELY right. It was great! But there were still things that shocked me, that I did not expect. I was really happy with the ending and where things left off. It wasn’t a a forced, cliche YA Happy Ending. I liked that most of all! I can’t wait to read book two, but sadly, it doesn’t come out until sometime in 2014.. *Sniffles* But trust me, I’ll be reading it!

I would definitely recommend Waterfell. I can understand the issues some people had with it, but I didn’t see them as issues and they didn’t take away from the story, in my opinion. If anything, they added to the story and made it better.


Review: Seven Day Fiance by Rachel Harris

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Seven Day Fiance by Rachel HarrisSeven Day Fiance by Rachel Harris
Series: Love and Games #2
Published by Entangled: Bliss on October 14, 2013
Pages: 211
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Angelle Prejean is in a pickle. Her family is expecting her to come home with a fiancé—a fiancé who doesn’t exist. Well, he exists, but he definitely has no idea Angelle told her mama they were engaged. Tattooed, muscled, and hotter than sin, Cane can reduce Angelle to a hot mess with one look—and leave her heart a mess if she falls for him. But when she ends up winning Cane at a charity bachelor auction, she knows just how to solve her fiancé problem.

Cane Robicheaux is no one’s prince. He doesn’t do relationships and he doesn’t fall in love. When sweet, sultry-voiced Angelle propositions him, he hopes their little game can finally get her out of his head. He doesn’t expect her to break through all his barriers. But even as Angelle burrows deeper into his heart, he knows once their seven days are up, so is their ruse.

When I read Taste the Heat (Love and Games #1) by Rachel Harris, I knew right away I was hooked – by her writing, her characters and her sexy, swoon-worthy men. Jason was an incredible character and I fell in love with him so hard and so fast, my head spun. Cane was just a secondary character in that book, as Colby’s older brother. We saw some of his personality and swoon-worthyness (yes, that is a word.. I just made it a word!), but we didn’t see a whole lot of him. In Seven Day Fiance, that all changes.

Angelle was a great character to read. She really grows and evolves as a person throughout the book and that growth is very obvious. She starts out timid and humble and, by the end, becomes a woman who can say no and ask for space. She stops trying to please everyone else in her life – her family, her friends, her ex and even Cane – and she starts focusing on herself, who she is and who she wants to be. She’s a strong character from the beginning, but she becomes even stronger by the end and she doesn’t realize how strong she is until the end.

Cane is just… I can’t.. *Fans self.* Cane is yummy! Cane is hot. Cane is MINE! But besides that, he’s an incredible, incredible person. No offense to Jason, but I’m totally Team Cane now! There is so much depth to him, and we don’t realize that in Taste the Heat because we only see so much of him. But in Seven Day Fiance, his personality and fears are front and center for us to see. It’s difficult to watch Cane go through everything he does in this book, because you can tell how painful it is for him and how conflicted he is. He’s the resident playboy, the tattoo-covered, leather-wearing bad boy who doesn’t believe in relationships – until Angelle comes into his life. And even then, he’s conflicted, confused and unsure. He’s haunted by his past – a past we learned about in Taste the Heat, but that we truly begin to understand in Seven Day Fiance.

This book made me laugh, cry and swoon. There were a few moments where I was ready to sob, where my heart broke and where I begged Cane and/or Angelle to NOT do what they were doing. But the end was INCREDIBLY sweet and amazing and wonderful and the epilogue made me giddy and excited!

There’s going to be a third book in this series, and I’m DYING to know which hunky guy and girl-next-door are going to be front and center in that one! (Fingers crossed for Sherry!)

All in all, I absolutely loved this book. I love everything Rachel Harris does and I highly recommend everything she does. So get reading!


Review: Beyond Fate by Heather Lyons

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Beyond Fate by Heather LyonsBeyond Fate by Heather Lyons
Series: Fate #1.5
Published by Cerulean Books on October 10, 2013
Source: the publisher

There are always two sides to every story . . .

His whole life, Jonah Whitecomb has strove to meet everyone’s expectations of him: the perfect student, dutiful son, loyal twin, accomplished surfer, and powerful Magical. But behind his carefully composed façade hides the truth of how his family has fallen apart, leaving Jonah more often than not feeling adrift. To complicate matters, he fell in love long ago with a girl in his dreams, one he’s never told anyone about, including his twin brother.

Just when life seems its bleakest, Jonah discovers that Chloe is real. Wanting to finally reach out and grab happiness for himself, he embarks on a journey to track down the girl of his dreams, only to find that happy endings aren’t always guaranteed, the best laid out plans can go horribly awry, and sometimes, you have to simply let yourself go along for the ride.

* Beyond Fate is Jonah’s point-of-view of the events of A Matter of Fate, and is a companion novella.

I don’t even know where to begin with this review… I feel like I’m betraying Kellan!! But there were so many Jonah feels in this book!!!!!!

Beyond Fate takes place a little bit before, then during, A Matter of Fate. It was so interesting to hear the story in his point of view. I especially loved seeing the whole Twin Connection mind thing between him and Kellan from his point of view! In A Matter of Fate, Chloe just sees them staring at each other. But from Jonah’s POV, we actually get to hear what they say to each other.

We get a better sense of who Jonah is, why he did what he did, and how he felt about the whole situation in A Matter of Fate. It’s eye-opening and mind-blowing, seeing things from his perspective. We also get to know certain people better, such as Astrid, Callie and Jonah and Kellan’s father. Clearly, I dislike their father. I think I stated that in my reviews of A Matter of Fate and A Matter of Heart – he’s so mean to Kellan and Jonah!

Callie is such a complex character, especially in Beyond Fate. We see more of her relationship with Jonah, and I can see where she is coming from better with her feelings and actions, but she got on my nerves a few times. In A Matter of Fate and A Matter of Heart, she’s a bit stronger, more outspoken. She was the opposite in Beyond Fate, but Jonah was breaking her heart, so I guess that makes sense! I still love Callie as a character and love her interaction with Chloe even more.

I’m totally and completely Team Kellan, but I definitely felt for Jonah in this, and seeing things from his eyes, I was better able to understand where he was coming from, and my heart broke for him several times. I just wanted to slap the people who were making him hurt, and hug him like crazy!

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this and seeing the events in A Matter of Fate from Jonah’s POV. I loved seeing the events that led up to A Matter of Fate, as well. I feel like I understand Jonah better, and I feel for him more. I’m still totally Team Kellan, and I can’t wait to read his novella, but I get Jonah more now than I did before. And as always, with all of Heather’s books, I highly, highly recommend this! But DEFINITELY read A Matter of Fate and A Matter of Heart first! It WILL spoil things, otherwise.