Wednesday 31 December 2014

Atlantia by Ally Condie

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Paranormal, Romance
Publication Date: October 28th 2014
POV: Female - First-person, Present tense
My Rating: 3 out of 5


Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.


Due to this being set in Atlantis I thought that it would be a fantasy, or a historical set in the times of ancient Greece. But it is not Atlantis, it is Atlantia. It is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where the world Above is poisoned so people moved Below the water.

This is the story of Rio, who dreams of seeing above, and her journey to see her sister again, and to discover the secrets of her world and Above, and what really happened. I read this because I loved Matched so much. And although the writing style is pretty much the same, the characters did not engage me as well. And there was very little romance. Although True helped her along the way, the real struggle was for Rio to find her sister. It had nothing to do with finding a way to be with True. He was a companion and a comfort during her journey, but not a central part of it.

The world of Atlantia was pretty unique and I wish it had focused more on the mythology and history of their world. I would have liked to learn more about the sirens and the gods and the other gifts that some people had. And about the other cities. It could have been much more interesting if it delved deeper I think. The story was not enough to really grab me. It focused too much on Rio's single-minded need to go Above. I felt no connection to her as a heroine. There was really nothing special about any of the characters.

The story was concluded at the end, and although authors can always find an excuse to come back and expand a story if they decide to later, I hope this remains a standalone story. I don't feel the need to come back to this world. We could always see how Rio and Bay are doing later, and how their worlds are faring, how things have changed, but I believe everything will turn out for the best.

“Everyone dies. The don't all have the chance to see what they wanted most. At least I've seen the Above. At least I've known True.”

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Shardwell Series by Amanda Gerry and Christy Hall

I received an ARC today for book #4 in the Shardwell series by Amanda Gerry and Christy Hall and I am very exciting to get back into this series! It is worth waiting for and I highly recommend it to fans of epic fantasy and sci-fi, mythology, and massive world building. It is an extremely ambitious series.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! At first I thought it seemed was familiar, just with enough differences to keep me hooked. But by the end I realized that it was actually like nothing I have read before.
It starts out as a normal high school paranormal romance. Strange things start happening to beautiful Maggie. Things she can't explain. Then a hot new guy shows up at school. This is when the guy would usually tell her that he can help her understand what's been happening to her. But he doesn't. Kyle is actually as confused as Maggie. After they meet he starts to develop super-human strength and speed. They try to make sense of their new world together, along with Maggie's best friend, Lily...more


This book was even better than the first, and perhaps even better than anything I have read all year. It is a prequel to Phoenix Angel, and shows what Maggie and Lily's lives were like before, as Margariete and Esilwen, and even explains some of the events referred to at the end of Phoenix Angel. Sadly, Kyle was not in this at all, and there was very little of Carter, but we get to learn a great deal more about Carter, as well as Raeylan and Feralblade. And what we learned was fascinating. There are so many character revelations in this books, it continually surprised me. I had so many misconceptions before starting it, and I loved the way Amanda Gerry and Christy Hall laid it out...more 


This book was just as amazing and epic as Guardian of Time, but so different! This is set 400 years after the events of Guardian of Time. It may have just been too long since I read it, but I don't remember it being mentioned that Margariete and Raeylan had such long lifespans. They spent the last 400 years searching for Esilwen, traveling the shards, many of which had advanced technology. So when we meet Margariete and Raeylan again, they are already somewhat familiar with technology and aren't completely out of their depths. And we also meet Kyleren again. I missed Kyle in Guardian of Time, and was glad to see that this book was his story...more

This series is ever expanding, and each book is set years and worlds apart. Shardwell is a planned 7-book series. The books have come out in fairly quick succession so far, so I would not worry about starting a long series and having to wait before the next book is released. Take the plunge! I don't know what to expect from The Mystic, but I will make sure to let you know once I have read it.

Monday 22 December 2014

Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta (Lumatere Chronicles #2)

Genres: Young Adult, Adventure, High Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: September 29th 2008
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 3 out of 5


Blood sings to blood, Froi . . .
Those born last will make the first . . .
For Charyn will be barren no more.

Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home... Or so he believes...

Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been trained roughly and lovingly by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds. Here he encounters a damaged people who are not who they seem, and must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad Princess.

And in this barren and mysterious place, he will discover that there is a song sleeping in his blood, and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.


There were some things about this book that I liked less than Finnikin of the Rock and some things that I liked more. I don't think that it is actually worse, but the fact that it is so much longer makes its faults more obvious and gives them more focus.

I think my biggest complaint about this book, besides the length itself, would be the writing. It seemed really chopping and hard to follow. In particular, I remember one scene where Lirah slaps someone, and then just continues to talk to Quintana as if the slap never happened, no one acknowledged the slap, the person who was slapped did not protest, nothing. It felt like the slap had been cut and paste from a different scene. And a lot of times a scene is just abandoned and the next line says, "The next day Froi went to..." or something of the sort. Even if the previous scene seemed incomplete, ended in the middle of a conversation, or with a question. A lot of time was skipped and I felt like I was missing stuff. It had no flow.

I also had a lot of trouble understanding the characters. Their behaviour was inconsistent and after 600 pages I still feel like I don't know any of them and I don't understand their motives. I still don't know who to trust. One minute Froi loves them, the next minute he hates them, and they have never really did anything to deserve either sentiment. They were just in the way. I really couldn't care less about any of them. They could just die for all I care. Except for Quintana because Froi loves her and I want Froi to be happy. Froi is the only good character in this whole series. I remember thinking that even while I was reading Finnikin of the Rock.

So, as with Finnikin, this book only gets stars for the story. The story of Charyn is very interesting and deserves to be told. I only wish it had been told differently, and written differently. But it is a very unique story, I will give it that. And I enjoy Froi and seeing how far his life has brought him, and everything he has accomplished. I will read Quintana of Charyn eventually, but I am not making it a priority.

"It's not that I like you least. It's that I feared you most. The Reginita taught me to like you. There was a strange joy to her that lifted my spirits. But you, Quintana of Charyn, you made me love you."

Sunday 14 December 2014

Talon by Julie Kagawa (Talon #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Publication Date: October 28th 2014
POV: Alternating - First-person, Past tense
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.


I really loved this book. It felt a lot more in the spirit of The Iron Fey, which is the series that first got me into reading, than her other books. It has that great sense of adventure and discovery, and life and love and friendship. And heroism.

I absolutely loved Ember. She was so full of life and spunk. And her physical appearance was a perfect representation of who she was underneath. She was small with bright green eyes and spiky red hair. She was such a firecracker (or Firebrand, as Riley liked to call her). She was like a female Puck. A person like her would never have survived inside Talon. At least not with her soul intact. She needed freedom. But I love how, in the end, it was not selfishness and her desire for freedom that finally convinced her to leave. She would not have been happy in Talon, but I don't know for sure whether or not she would have left without Riley's help. I'd like to think she would have stayed for her brother. But in the end, it was her goodness and her heroism that finally convinced her of what she needed to do.

And the same goes for Garret. He may have unwillingly fallen in love with a dragon, causing him to question everything he has ever known. But it was not only his concern for Ember that made him betray St. George, but the fact that if Ember is good, than others must be as well. He would not kill Riley, or Nettle or Remy either. Because like Ember, he will do what he believes to be the right thing, not only the thing that is best for him.

This book was just full of great characters, from the protagonists, to Dante and Riley and Wes, and even Lexi. Riley is a great friend for Ember and I am so glad that she found someone who understands her and she can talk to about being a dragon. I enjoy the fact that their relationship is complicated and I look forward to seeing how much more complicated it becomes. Although I hope not too much happens between them, because it is clear that any attraction is a result of their dragon natures, and has little to do with actual feelings. I also really enjoyed Dante and I feel sorry for him. He was so easily fooled and put under Talon's thumb. I really hope that he comes around in the end, because he was a really great brother to Ember in the beginning.

I loved the fact that the story and mythology of the dragons was balanced with the amount of romance. In YA series you sometimes have to wait for several books before a romance really develops. But in Talon, Ember and Garret are in love and making sacrifices by the end of the first book. And that didnt take away from the high stakes of the story at all. I really look forward to learning more about Talon's secrets. What we learned about Vipers and Chameleons, and their possible secrets labs was all interesting and I am sure Ember will now work to rescue others and expose their secrets. I also look forward to her infiltrating St. George and rescuing Garret, and hopefully more shifting, now that she is free to do as she pleases. I am really excited for this series and I can see some much potential for it to be totally epic.

"Somewhere between that day on the beach when I'd met her for the first time and the night of the party when we'd kissed in the ocean, she had become something more than a potential target. She had, very inexplicably, become the most important thing in my life. 
And that terrified me."

Thursday 11 December 2014

Play Me, I'm Yours by Madison Parker

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: March 31st 2013
POV: Male - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Fairy Tate. Twinklefingers. Lucy Liu. Will the taunting ever end? Lucas Tate suffers ridicule because of his appearance and sensitive nature. When he’s not teased, he’s ignored, and he doesn’t know which is worse. He feels unloved by everyone, but the one comfort in life is his music. What he wants more than anything is to find a friend.

Much to his dismay, both his mom and a schoolmate are determined to find him a boyfriend, despite the fact Lucas hasn’t come out to them. His mom chooses a football player who redefines the term “heartthrob,” while Trish pushes him toward the only openly gay boy at Providence High. But Lucas is harboring a crush on another boy, one who writes such romantic poetry to his girlfriend that hearing it melts Lucas into a puddle of goo. All three prospects seem so far out of his league. Lucas is sure he doesn’t stand a chance with any of them—until sharing his gift for music brings him the courage to let people into his heart.


I am really starting to enjoy coming of age/coming out stories. They are so sweet and innocent. I really loved Lucas. He was so vulnerable in the beginning. The kind of person who would have been picked on even if he wasn't gay, just because he was so small and socially awkward. Its really hard to believe how cruel kids can be sometimes. I really hated seeing the things Lucas' classmates did to him. It really wasn't fair. Just because he didn't defend himself and he had a passion for music? Ridiculous. He was such a great person, if they only would have given him a chance. He was smart, and he respected and loved his parents, was an honest and loyal friend to Alex and Trish. And despite all the mistreatment, he admired and loved his brother. I am so glad that he was able to get past it all in the end.

I really enjoyed how the book focused a lot more on Lucas' journey, than on a romance. It was still very romantic, but it took almost half the book before we even knew who the romantic interest was going to be. I really did not enjoy that parts with Donovan though. He was such a jerk and the parts with him and Lucas together made me uncomfortable. I feel bad that Lucas didn't see the situation clearly sooner, but at least he dumped his ass eventually. He may have had some good intentions, he seemed like a decent friend to Trish, but mostly he was just selfish. Alex on the other hand was amazing. He confused me sometimes and I had trouble trying to figure out his motives. In the end I had to settle on the fact that he is just the greatest person ever. Its that simple.

And of course I loved Zach. He was big and muscly and hot, but at the same time he was so deep and sensitive and he had a soul that matched Lucas'. No one else would have been able to understand Lucas the way Zach did, to anticipate his needs and fears and insecurities. Despite everything, Lucas is still only 17, and with that comes common teenage insecurities about sex and body image. And Zach was so patient and reassuring. You know he would wait forever for Lucas, because as much as Lucas needs him, he needs Lucas too. The poetry he wrote for Lucas was so intense, even more so because he wrote it before approaching Lucas and really getting to know him. He needed Lucas' passion and honesty and goodness. You could really see how broken Zach was after they fought and he thought that he had lost Lucas forever. Somehow, despite everything he has been put through by others, and the fact that he is so quiet and mostly isolated, Lucas still seems like a light. There was a brightness in him. And no one saw that more than Zach.

"He was usually relaxed when he played. He liked to let himself be swept away from the here and now, but with Zach beside him, brushing his arm when Lucas played the high notes, he was acutely aware of where he was and what he was doing. It was an emotional piece to begin with, now intensified by his feelings for the boy sitting next to him, the physical manifestation of his own dreams of love."

Tuesday 11 November 2014

The Bone Orchard by Abigail Roux

Genres: Adult, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Romance
Publication Date: August 11th 2014
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
Smut-O-Meter: 6 out of 10
My Rating: 3 out of 5

After leaving a trail of terror and death in his wake, the notorious “Missouri” Boone Jennings finally meets his match in San Francisco when US marshal Ambrose Shaw catches up to him. The story of his capture, and the marshal’s bravery, has already become legend back east by the time Pinkerton inspector Ezra Johns gets off the train from New York City to testify in the murderer’s trial.

When Ambrose is unable to give witness to the evils he’s seen, Ezra becomes their lone hope for putting Jennings in a noose. But if Ezra thinks that’s his biggest problem, he’s got plenty to learn about life—and the afterlife—in the spirited West.

Fortunately, Ambrose is there to assist, and more than happy to oblige Ezra—in the courtroom or the bedroom. He spent his life bringing justice to the Wild West, and if he has a say in it, that’s how he’ll be spending his death too.


This was a pretty good western ghost story. I don't read a lot of ghost stories, but this was really interesting. Ezra and Ambrose are both lawmen hunting the same killer. One a Marshall from California, the other an Inspector from New York. They hunt Jennings across the country, until they meet in San Francisco where they have tracked down Jennings. He is tried and hung, but continues to kill from beyond the grave.

I especially enjoyed the second half of the story, as time starts to pass more quickly, and Ezra and Ambrose watch the decades pass around them. The idea that having a nemesis is what makes the time worth living for them is different and unexpected. You would expect the good guys to defeat the villain, but not here, and that's okay. Ezra and Ambrose have each other, but protecting people is what their lives were about and so are their deaths. Meeting Ezra's nephew at the end was an interesting turn of events as well. I was not expecting more story at that point and I enjoyed the fact that others knew of Ezra and Ambrose's existence. Although, I wish they could have spoken more and that Owen and his friends could have known all the good Ezra and Ambrose have done over the last 150 years.

The romance in this was pretty disappointing though. I didn't really feel the connection between Ezra and Ambrose. It seemed to happen awfully quickly. They probably knew each other 3 or 4 days before they expressed feelings for each other. Eventually they said the 'L' word and it wasn't even made into a big deal. They both acted as if it was totally normal to fall in love after only a week or so and neither were surprised to hear the words.

But regardless of the passage of time, it wasn't used to its full potential. Their relationship could have been developed better in the given time. I don't really know what they loved about each other. We were not told. And I don't think we were ever told what Ezra looked like. When he first saw Ambrose he described him to us, but we were never given a description of Ezra and he is sort of just a blank in my mind. Also, in a story of 133 pages, there was time for more than one sex scene, but we were only given one. It wasn't super explicit but I enjoyed it. It was one of the few times when I felt their emotional closeness, as well as the physical, of course.

So this is a good read for people who enjoy ghost stories and paranormal, who don't mind some M/M on the side, but aren't looking for a romance at the moment. I wouldn't mind a sequel.

"I love you," he said quickly. "If I don't come back..." 
"No," Ezra hissed. "No, you must."
"Know I loved you a lifetime's worth," Ambrose gasped. "A lifetime."

Friday 7 November 2014

Try by Ella Frank (Temptation #1)

Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: November 12th 2013
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
Smut-O-Meter: 9 out of 10
My Rating: 5 out of 5


Sex. Logan Mitchell loves it, and ever since he realized his raw sexual appeal at a young age, he has had no problem using it to his advantage. Men and women alike fall into his bed—after all, Logan is not one to discriminate. He lives by one motto—if something interests you, why not just take a chance and try?

And he wants to try Tate Morrison.

Just coming out of a four-year marriage with an ex-wife from hell, a relationship is the last thing on Tate’s mind. He’s starting fresh and trying to get back on his feet with a new job at an upscale bar in downtown Chicago.

The only problem is, Tate has caught the unwavering and unwelcome attention of Mr. Logan Mitchell – a regular at the bar and a man who always gets what he wants.

Night after night Tate fends off the persistent advances of the undeniably charismatic man, but after an explosive moment in the bar, all bets are off as he finds his body stirring with a different desire than his mind.

As arrogance, stubbornness and sexual tension sizzles between the two, it threatens to change the very course of their lives.

Logan doesn’t do relationships. Tate doesn’t do men. But what would happen if they both just gave in and…tried?


Only once I had already finished this book did I find out that it was written by an author who had started out as a M/F author, and that this book was what got a lot of people into reading M/M romance in the first place. I am not a veteran of the genre, but I am not new to it either. This is my 13th M/M book, and I absolutely loved it. It is either the smuttiest romance, or the most romantic smut that I have ever read. I am gonna lean towards calling it the most romantic smut, because really, there is no need to have that much sex in a book unless you are writing a smut. Not that I am complaining. I love a good smut. But I really can't get into a book unless there is a good foundation to the relationship before sex comes into the picture. I have DNFed more than one book because they had sex sooner than I liked, and it made me uncomfortable (Sins & Needles and On Dublin Street to name a few). That did not happen here, despite how much sex there is in this book.

I really loved the pace in this book. I have read a lot of GFY stories where it only took the first advance for the straight guy to give in to his new and confusing feelings. I love how Logan took his time and visited Tate's bar several times to talk to him before Tate even realized he was attracted to him. And only several meetings after that did Tate agree to meet with him outside of work. They started with a few kisses before trying anything sexual, and even then Logan was patient and waited until Tate offered sex. It was so against his character and what he was used to giving. I loved how little either of them fought it. Tate was confused but once he realized what he wanted, he went with it. Albeit slowly. And Logan, as afraid as he might have been of commitment, he still knew he would not give up Tate to avoid it. They still had a few rough spot, but nothing too major. This was the story of two men who change each other's lives. How they get there and how they handle it. And I love how it wasn't overly complicated.

I also really enjoyed how evenly matched they were. Like Robbie pointed out, and like they both eventually recognized about themselves, they both liked to control and be controlled once and a while. It was a new dynamic and it worked for them. They are just so well matched for each other in every way. They challenge each other and balance each other, and understand each other. My only complaint is the way that the book ended to abruptly. Mid-sentence. I really don't like cliffhangers in books, and although this can't really be called a cliffhanger because it's not ended mid-action, it is ended mid-conversation and it is ended with a question without an answer. It always seems lazy to me when that happens. But its not enough to ruin the book for me. This book was emotional and beautiful as well as hot and exciting and I can't wait to read the rest of this story.

“You've changed me, and you don’t even realize it. Just being with you, near you? It makes me want to be a better person. You make me want to take a risk.” 
"What do you want to risk?" 
Logan let go of all the emotions he'd held so carefully at arm's length. Finally, with those feelings surrounding and engulfing him, he answered simply, "Everything."

Wednesday 5 November 2014

How We Fall by Kate Brauning

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: March 14th 2014
POV: Female - First-person, Past tense
My Rating: 3 out of 5


Ever since Jackie moved to her uncle's sleepy farming town, she's been flirting way too much--and with her own cousin, Marcus.

Her friendship with him has turned into something she can't control, and he's the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body. Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn't right about this stranger, and Jackie's suspicions about the new girl's secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus--and deepens Jackie's despair.

Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else's lies as the mystery around Ellie's disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?


This wasn't really what I had expected, and it had certain factors that made me uncomfortable, but it was interesting, well written, and featured very likable characters. The blurb mentions Jackie's relationship with her cousin, Marcus, but it doesn't even touch on the true depth of their relationship. It's somewhat misleading. You have to be able to accept a relationship between first cousins to really enjoy this book I think.

Jackie and her family of four, and Marcus and his family of eight, moved in together to share a home when they were 14. They liked each other from the beginning. In such a large family they instantly gravitated towards each other, because they were the same age and they were both quiet. But after an innocent game of "Truth or Dare", they see each other in a different light, and their relationship is changed forever. The book starts during the summer before Jackie and Marcus' senior year, when their relationship is beginning to reach a tipping point. When they first gave in to their secret relationship they gave themselves rules. No commitment. Not labels. No sex. But things are getting too serious and they can't stop it. Marcus wants to spend more time with Jackie. He wants to be able to take her out without being afraid. Jackie is getting insanely jealous of Marcus talking to other girls. She is afraid she is falling in love with him, which she cannot allow. Their relationship just cannot be. So they try to make a preemptive clean break. It was inevitable, right?

“We didn't have to be a doomed romance. We weren't some cosmic mistake. We were us, and we couldn't be stopped by anything but ourselves.”

Regardless of what I might think of their relationship, Jackie and Marcus were very well developed, believable, and likable characters. Even when they were going through some rough spots I still liked them. All of their arguments were realistic and I understood both of their point of views, and why they were acting the way they were. The situation they had ended up in was difficult and really, neither of them were to blame. But its impossible to separate them from their relationship and the fact that they were cousins. If they weren't cousins none of this would have happened. There would have been no conflict. And if they hadn't been cousins, they wouldn't have become the people that they had.

I have a hard time accepting the fact that they were cousins, and I am trying not to think about it in realistic terms. I get a little freaked out when I think of this happening in real life. But, as a story it was very well portrayed and understandable. I could see how they were each others refuge. Despite how freaked out I may have been when I realized what I was reading, Kate Brauning made me accept it enough to finish the book. She made me really care about Jackie and her intelligence and laughter. And Marcus and his strength and steadfastness. They deserved happiness, and after reading their story, I know they would only be happy together and I am glad they made it work. I only wish that I could have seen more. I always prefer a book to have an epilogue.

There was also a side-story about the disappearance of Jackie's best friend which accented the book with a bit of mystery. It was a nice addition and I really couldn't figure out what was going on. But it wasn't focused on that much, and the book would have still been able to carry itself as a contemporary romance without it.

As much as I appreciate being drawn into a story, this loses more than a star for the serious "ick" factor. Despite the taboo subject matter, this book was completely clean and YA appropriate. If you don't have a problem with the taboo nature of the story (I am sure those who have read Forbidden won't even bat an eye), I would recommend this to those who are looking for an emotional, angsty story. For those who enjoy a good, forbidden romance.

“You did this to me. You came here when I was fourteen and shy and you were the prettiest girl I'd ever seen. You kissed me, and you talked to me, and you made me love you.”

Sunday 2 November 2014

Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan (The Lynburn Legacy #3)

Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Publication Date: September 23rd 2014
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 5 out of 5


Powerful love comes with a price. Who will be the sacrifice?

Kami has lost the boy she loves, is tied to a boy she does not, and faces an enemy more powerful than ever before. With Jared missing for months and presumed dead, Kami must rely on her new magical link with Ash for the strength to face the evil spreading through her town.

Rob Lynburn is now the master of Sorry-in-the-Vale, and he demands a death. Kami will use every tool at her disposal to stop him. Together with Rusty, Angela, and Holly, she uncovers a secret that might be the key to saving the town. But with knowledge comes responsibility—and a painful choice. A choice that will risk not only Kami’s life, but also the lives of those she loves most.

As coauthor with Cassandra Clare of the bestselling Bane Chronicles, Sarah Rees Brennan has mastered the art of the page-turner. This final book in the Lynburn Legacy is a wild, entertaining ride from beginning to shocking end.


This series is one of my absolute favourites. 5-stars across the board. It's just so unique. I really can't get over how unusual it was. It's so dark. And by dark I mean dark. The bad guys in this story are true evil. There is so much blood and death and destruction and pure greed and evil. Yet, at the same time, Kami is simply one of the best, smartest, funniest, and wittiest YA heroines I have ever read. She provides a balance that you need in order to handle all the darkness. This is one of those books where, when you try to list your favourites quotes, you find that you want to quote the whole book. 

Another thing I loved about this book was all the love. Kami and Jared's love is epic, but it wasn't the only focus. Everyone loved each other and were willing to sacrifice so much for each other. Kami loved Jared, but she also loved Ash and Rusty, in a different way. She never really gave her love for them a title, but it was probably more brotherly. Then of course she loved Angela and Holly, and her brothers and her parents, and everything she did was for them. If you have read this series, then you know exactly how much Rusty loved Angela and Kami. How much Angela loved Kami, and Rusty, and Holly. How much Jared loved Ash, and Holly, and Lillian. How much Lillian loved Ash and Jared. And how much Ash loved Jared, Lillian, and Kami. They forged such a large family together, through everything that they went through they became stronger.

As much as I love Kami and Jared's oddly epic love story, it's really everyone in this series as a whole that make me love it so much. All the characters, the way they fight for each other and what is right and what they believe in. The way that they handle the tragedies in their lives. How they never quit, they hang on to what they have and keep going. How they always look for the bright side, and even when they believe that they are all going to die, they still do what needs to be done. Despite the evil of the story, and the heartbreaking deaths, this series was uplifting and inspiring because of the courage of Kami and her friends and family. I will never forget it.

"Your name was the first word for love I ever knew."

Tuesday 28 October 2014

The Iron Trial by Holly Black, Cassandra Clare (Magisterium #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication Date: September 9th 2014
POV: Male - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 3 out of 5


Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst – and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come...


After all the negative reviews I have read, and all the claims that this is a Harry Potter rip-off, I was expecting it to be a lot worse than it was. Really, the only comparisons to Harry Potter that I saw were the basic setup of the story. The fact that it takes place in a magic school, featuring a young boy whose best friends are a boy and a girl. But the Magisterium is absolutely nothing like Hogwarts; the mages are nothing like the wizards of the Potterverse; Callum, Aaron, and Tamara are absolutely nothing like Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The Enemy of the Magisterium may have been corrupted by his desire to defeat death, like Voldemort, but really, what else is going to turn someone with magic to evil? It was the same desire that turned Darth Vader to the dark side. Did JK Rowling rip-off George Lucas? I don't think so. I actually see much more of a basis for comparison between the Harry Potter series and The Mortal Instruments.

As of now, Callum is far from the hero that Harry was. He is actually extremely cynical for a 12 year old. He seems to think the whole world is out to get him. He was a bit annoying and there really wasn't much that was special about Aaron or Tamara either. Although they are better together, and having people actually care about him for the first time in his life, not counting his father, seems to be making Call less bitter. He seems to have the potential to be a better person, and proved that when he risked his life to save Aaron. But how will the revelation that he learned at the end affect him?

I really did not see that revelation coming and it definitely changes things. It changes the direction of the whole story and tells us that things are not as simple as we first thought. Call is not who we thought he was. Is he even the hero of this story, or is it Aaron? It brings into focus a lot of things that a 12 year old shouldn't have to think about, and that is the main reason why, for the time being, I will be continuing with this series. I am very interesting in where this will take us.

Although, I have to admit, I did a good deal of skimming. The characters are pretty flat, the writing is not engaging, and it was overall pretty boring. But the story was original enough to keep me interested and wanting to know what happens next.

“They all yelled in excitement. Tamara yelled because she was happy. Aaron yelled because he liked it when other people were happy, and Call yelled because he was sure they were going to die.”

Monday 13 October 2014

The Girl For Me by Failte

Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: November 27th 2006
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
Smut-O-Meter: 5 out of 10
My Rating: 5 out of 5


Straight jockboy Kevin thinks he has gay, cross-dressing Danny under his thumb. Kevin only likes girls.

So... why does he keep thinking about her?

Or him.



I don't even know where to start. I can't say how much I loved this book. It started out feeling very much like a normal YA contemporary romance. Danny was 16 and Kevin was 17 when they met at a party, despite a few significant changes, it began to progress as expected. Kevin convinced Danny to help him with his homework and they study together after school At this point it felt like a normal "wrong side of the tracks" romance, except they are both boys, and Danny likes to wear dresses.

Kevin and Danny don't get off on the right foot, but from the beginning you can tell Kevin isn't a horrible person. He just hasn't had the right influence. From the sound of things he had some pretty horrible friends, not to mention his father. But once he befriends Danny you see his real potential, not only in his school work, but in the person he could become. And Danny has found someone he can finally be himself with, even if he doesn't always know who that really is. Kevin doesn't judge, and he eventually finds himself falling for Danny. Once he realizes what is important in life, and what will really make him happy in the long run, he jumps in with both feet. It is pretty much from that point forward that he wants Danny in his life, and he never wavers.

"At the bottom of his pit, one light shone in Kevin's eyes. Of course. Fuck school. Fuck Dad. Fuck football and college and jobs and fags and straights and girls and boys and everyone and everything else - but Danny."

As their relationship progressed it starts to feel more like an NA. When Kevin turns 18 he gets his own apartment and they spend a lot of time their together, feeling very domestic, even though Danny still lives with his mother. I was surprised how little supervision they are given by their parents, and the amount of sex they have. I would definitely give this an NA label. Since they age a bit during the story, and they are just around the border age, I would lean it towards the NA label, due to content.

There is a point in the story where they have a big fight, and it was bad. I feel like it was a bit too much, and almost unforgivable. The story does bring us around to forgiving Kevin when Danny eventually does, but it was so out of character for Kevin, I really don't understand how he could have let it happen. And although it made Danny feel weak and vulnerable, and temporarily made him reconsider his desire to be a woman, I don't think his gender really came into it from Kevin's point of view. He was momentarily an asshole of the tenth degree, but it wasn't because Danny was a guy, or a girl, he was just being selfish. It shouldn't have made Danny question his gender. Kevin was a true bastard in that moment, and he only has himself to blame, not Danny.

Danny continues to be confused about his gender for most of the book. We don't really know in the end what conclusion he comes to. In the beginning, he considers himself a woman in a man's body, but as time goes by, he eventually learns more about what it means to be transgendered, and realizes he doesn't fit the definition. I don't know a lot about transgendered myself, but I wouldn't imagine it comes in degrees. But I don't know. Danny likes to wear dresses, but not all the time. In the beginning, he is extremely disturbed by the fact that he has a penis, but as his relationship with Kevin progresses it starts to come into play more and more and he enjoys it. He even mentions in passing that he at one point topped Kevin (I know that this is not that kind of story, but I would have loved to see that. I am a smut fan, so sue me). His sister tells him about surgery and hormone supplements, and the more he learns, the more he realizes that there are things about being a guy that he would miss. But he still never gives up the dresses. Every time Danny questioned Kevin in any regard to his gender, Kevin kept reassuring him that he loved who he was, not matter what. Male, female, it didn't matter, and that he just wanted Danny to be able to accept who he was. I hope that Danny was able to do that in the end. He did seem happy in the epilogue. Although we don't know what conclusion he came to, was in in drag at the time. 

“I wish you could just be you. You're great, Danny! You're fuckin' wonderful! Why do you have to be one thing or another? I... I just don't get why its so important to you to call yourself 'boy' or 'girl'!”

I loved how, once Kevin and Danny came out at school, that the entire school body stood up with them against homophobic teachers. It was amazing, and I loved how it also gave other Glbt students the courage to be themselves. It was truly inspiring and I hope things like that actually happen.

But of course my absolute favourite thing about this book was Kevin and Danny's relationship. They had some rough spots, and not only the one mentioned above, but in the end it all came down to the fact that they both knew that they were better, happier people when they were together. Kevin was ignorant of all things gay before he met Danny, and Danny not only educated him, but made him love him, made him want to be a better person, and literally taught him how. Kevin's love for Danny was so constant and unconditional, not even his gender was a condition and that makes me shed a lot of tears. And Danny loved that Kevin loved him. That he supported him and accepted him when no one else had. He loved that Kevin was really sweet underneath all his buffoonery, and that he was a lot smarter than he seemed. They were such a perfect pair, pretty much soul mates, that for the first time in an M/M romance (and I really think that the term M/M really doesn't do this story justice), I don't have a preferred main character. Despite Kevin's huge hiccup which I wanna just pretend didn't happen, I love them both so much. I can't remember the last time I got this attached to characters, or the last time I was this sad when I finished a book.

I loved the epilogue, but I still could have used more. The epilogue was set quite a while after the rest of the story, and it shows us where their life has gone, and that they are still together. But only Danny is in the epilogue. Even just one more page, set the evening after the epilogue, with Danny and Kevin both getting home and maybe cuddling; a kiss and a hug and an "I love you"? I would have been in heaven. I really didn't know what to expect going into this story, but it definitely blew any expectations I had right out of the water. This story really wound itself around my heart. My heart was racing as their relationship first started to grow. I was so anxious when Danny and Kevin were fighting. I was weeping as they proved they were forever. I will carry this story with me always. 

Danny chuckled, "So first you like boys, now you like cross-dressing boys, next-" 
"I like everything about you," Kevin said, while Danny thought about what might be 'next'. 
"Uh... next... Uh... I forgot what I was saying..." 
"You were about to say you loved me." 
"I love you. Thanks. I totally forgot.”
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