[460]: Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen

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GOODREADS SUMMARY | Candlewick Press | September 9th, 2014 | ARC Paperback, 343 pages | Young Adult | Paranormal | Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars


My husband, the sounding board.

So this is what happens when I’m not in proximity of another person passionate about books. My husband receives the brunt of the abuse. The poor man. I don’t think he can take any more of my hissy fits in the name of frustrating books, so I suggested all too sweetly that he invest in one of those noise cancelling head phones.

“Have you  considered reading from another genre?” He asked.

As if I haven’t been trying! I just…I really need to get out of this YA funk, or I’m in trouble. Because 80% of the books on my TBR are YA!

Help. Me.

It’s like Hellmouth, except…not.

Evil Librarian is the story of how satan found his own personal Hellmouth at the school’s library. What does he want? Well, besides total world domination, he wants food. And what kind of food? Not pizza, that’s for damn sure. Souls. He eats the souls of the students weak enough to be captivated by satan’s charms. Cynthia, for some reason, is immune. Her friend Annie, however, was not. Soon, and almost predictably, he started killing teachers. The human race’s problems  worsens when Cynthia learns that the doorway from hell to Earth is open like a 7-11. Between trying to save her best friend, preparing for the school production of Sweeney Todd, and trying to garner up the courage to talk to her crush, Cynthia also has to find a way to close the doorway.  But hey, I’m sure with a little bit of time management and determination, she’ll manage to achieve world peace and eradicate poverty before the year is out. This girl is buhh-sy.

I am not impressed.

First, I’d like to apologize for the glib tone of my review. I don’t know how else to write this without a serving of sarcasm. So please move on if you’ve had enough. Otherwise, keep reading.

What didn’t work for me here? Well, it wasn’t horror. It wasn’t even funny either. Romance? What romance? I felt like Knudsen kept putting her readers on the edge of something but doesn’t really come through for us. Like the ominous background music is on, indicative of the coming heart stopping scene only to watch someone…eat a banana.

There was a generous helping of swooning from Cynthia and Annie, but honestly? I don’t get it. Most of the time, Ryan (Cyn’s crush) was oblivious, and maybe even spacey. Because of that, I never really felt like there was anything resembling a spark between the two. And what’s with the overly contrived tension that wasn’t really there? It was just plain awkward.  The “hot” librarian looks to be in his twenties, but apparently, this has no bearings because, well, he’s the devil. And who gives a flip about laws, moralities and such? No one, that’s who. Anyway. Demon magic or not, that is just…gross. No matter how hot he is. Especially if he’s planning on making Cyn’s friend into the bride of Satan himself. Ick.

Why was Cynthia immune to satan’s hypnotic mojo, but the rest of the school is not? Beats me.

I can’t find anything redeeming about this book. Mostly, I thought it succeeded in stating the obvious: Demons are evil. The end.

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[439]: Dreams of Gods ‘& Monsters by Laini Taylor

FullSizeRenderGOODREADS SUMMARY
Little, Brown & Company | Hardcover, 613 pages
Publication Date: April 8th, 2014
Young Adult Fiction | Fantasy
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars


After months of starting and stopping this beast of a book, I finally succumbed and bought the audio and decided to listen and read at the same time. Because I figured it was the only way I was going to get through it without losing my mind. The time it would’ve taken me to get through my hardcopy is mind blowing. And considering I didn’t really have a great time with this book to begin with, I think downloading the audio is still worth the extra $25 I spent.

Dreams of Gods & Monsters is a book that’s on pretty much everybody’s hit list. That list that indicates which books we would sleep with, kill for, and sell our souls to the devil to procure a copy. I had high hopes for this book, to be sure. Unfortunately, those impossible expectations soon became the thorn on my side. Don’t get me wrong, Laini Taylor is an incredibly brilliant writer. Her words call out to the green monster hidden in every poor schmuck that ever wanted to write (i.e. ME). The first two books to this series can attest to that. This time, however, I’ve gone weary; tired of flowery words that seem to meander, loop around in a dizzying circle until she got to the point of her narrative.

The pitfalls of listening to a book rather than reading, is that you’re not able to skim and skip to certain points of a story. You can skip certain chapters but you can’t skip pages without fear of missing out. When a narrative goes astray, this is usually my recourse. But I couldn’t do this here. I can tell you that my mind unfurled its wings and took flight with glazed eyes on several occasions.

Laini Taylor repeated herself – over and over and over again. I can’t count the number of times I expelled a tired breath every time she tortured me with Akiva and Karou. The number of times they almost touched each other; the number of times they were in the same room trying not to look but can’t not look.  And when they finally got together? I was thinking, why did you even bother? You created this tension, this thick desire between a couple of characters that your readers longed for.  A wanting so desperate, it was inexplicable; the kind of wanting so complete, you can taste it in your mouth!

But maybe I’m being unfair. After all, it is a writer’s gift when you can convince your readers to feel such an empathy it was almost tangible. I can appreciate that, sure. What I can’t appreciate, however, is the torture I was put through as I watched them (repeatedly) painfully  try to ignore the palpable tension every time they’re within seeing distance. Sigh.

Listen, this book could’ve been worse. And that’s unprecedented since I love Laini Taylor’s work; she’s an amazing story teller. She’s created such an intricate world that I can’t even compare it to anything I have read in my short life. But I grew bored with this book. The epic war that have been brewing between the seraph army and the group of chimaera/seraph was, unfortunately, anticlimactic. Karou’s plan to get Jael to leave Earth? So simple, and elementary that it’s not worth all the tension that was built up through the entirety of the book. Besides, the readers weren’t even given privy to the battlefield.

If I can put my feelings into a single word, it’s underwhelming. And considering who the author is and the heft of this madness, another word that comes to mind is disappointing. In the end, I was just so happy to be done with this book.

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The Elementals by Saundra Mitchell

The Elementals [The Vespertine, #3]
by Saundra Mitchell
Harcourt | ARC, paperback 297 pages
3 out of 5 Stars

There’s not a lot of series out there that I religiously follow. The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell is one of the few. It’s a historical/paranormal YA that’s uniquely written and fantastically done. Every year before its consequent release, I’ve made it a point to request it from the publisher and buy a copy when they come out. The Springsweet, having a couple of characters that I’ve adored so dearly is my favourite. I’ve looked forward to reading the third book, so when I received the third instalment, I just knew the end would be bittersweet. I just didn’t expect it to be a disappointment.

The third book follows the story of the children of characters from the first two books. Specifically, the youngest of Zora’s and Emerson’s who has the ability to breathe new life to any beings and Amelia’s and Nathaniel’s only daughter who can literally stop time. Julian and Kate has been dreaming of each other since they were kids but they don’t know each other. All they know was what they look like and that somehow, they have to meet. Both of them know that there’s a world out there that they haven’t seen. Julian’s polio has relegated him to a life in crutches and Kate has pretty much lived the vagabond and yet suffocated under the watchful eyes of her parents.

All throughout the book I’ve looked forward to their meeting and was disappointed that it took about half the novel for it to happen. In a way, I get it. Saundra took her time developing the story and the much needed back history as to why these two kids were they were. She told the story of how Julian suffered a heartbreak which led him to ran away from home and be on his own despite his disability. She told the story of a headstrong Kate who finally found a reason to stay and pursue her dreams of becoming a Hollywood director. So that wasn’t why I didn’t like this book as much as the first two.

I think it was because of the too much build-up to what promises to be a sweet romance that ended up as a dud. They were more like best of friends more than anything. Kindred spirits because of their inherited supernatural abilities. The ending also left open for everyone’s interpretation. And I, for one, wasn’t a fan. If you’re going to end a series, give me a closure. Don’t leave me hanging and frustrated.

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The Dark Heroine [Dinner with a Vampire, #1] by Abigail Gibbs

The least sexy romance I’ve read this year.
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The Dark Heroine by Abigail Gibbs
William Morrow, Paperback 549 pages

Be forewarned. This is not going to be a nice review. This book and I didn’t get a long and I’d like to apologize in advance if you take offence. Have a care, this rambling is just an opinion. Here goes nothing:
If you have the gumption to claim that you’re going to be the sexiest book I’ll read this year, then you better damn well have the sexy to back it up. As it stands,  you are nowhere near sexy at all. Nooope. Not even in the same zip code as any of the books sitting seductively in the check out stand of my neighbourhood grocery store. A few words come to mind to describe this book: unsexy, unoriginal, unromantic, and damn predictable and the main bloodsucker annoyed me to heavens. 
I could never understand how this ass of a hero could be deemed sexy when all you could see is how much of an a-hole he is. His over-aggressive he-act was so over the top that any attempt on his part to make up for the assholic behaviour couldn’t make up for his assholery. I realize that I’m running the risk of misusing and abusing the word but I couldn’t find another fitting word. And dude. Stop. Saying. Girly. It’s freaking annoying. Which really is the root of my problem with this book. Kaspar and I didn’t get along very well. Everything about him annoyed me especially when he calls the heroine that pet name. Nothing about that word is endearing unless the girl you’re referring to is freaking ten years old. Hell, nothing about this man is sexy. Have I mentioned that already? None. Zilch. Nada. Their banter and behaviour are borderline infantile and they couldn’t fit their combined chemistry in a thimble.

This story is told through Violet’s and Kaspar’s POVs so you would have a sense of Kaspar’s way of thinking. Doesn’t matter. He’s as flat as a piece of cardboard. No surprises, no character development there. Same goes for Violet. They truly are a match made in hell.

I don’t know how anyone could go from despising this guy to loving him because he’d apparently saved her life twice. Uhm, hello? You wouldn’t even be in such a precarious situation if he’d left you alone! The thing is, there was no smooth transition from hate to love between the two. It’s an abrupt 180 degree change. That’s what got to me. If you’ll just make it convincing that Violet’s change of heart is founded, then I wouldn’t be having such a problem with the romance.  Perhaps, if you’d just ease me into it. I just can’t read about Kasper without dry heaving. She was also waaaaayyyy too accepting of the fact that vampires exist – a mild reaction at first then she shrugged her shoulders and just moved on.  Actually, much of her reactions didn’t make much sense to me. She comes off very immature and not at all like a woman on the cusp of adulthood (she turned 18 in captivity) would.

This book was a surprise hit on Wattpadd – pre-ginormous contract publication. But I wish someone had spent the time to help the author polish her work. It’s a five-hundred some odd pages of cliché and totally not worth the money I spent on it. I haven’t learned my lesson, I guess. Sometimes, if there’s a big buzz about a book, chances are, that’s all there is to it: an unpleasant noise that sounds like a fly buzzing in your ear.

My rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

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Bloodlines [Bloodlines, #1] by Richelle Mead

Placid spin-off to a high octane series. 
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Bloodlines [Bloodlines, #1] by Richelle Mead
Razor Bill 
Hardcover, 421 pages

I’m simply baffled by this work by an author whom I’ve favoured for years. Gone was the heart-pounding action that grips you on the first page; or your inability to put the book down for a second just so you could breathe – both are quintessential quality of Mead’s writing. In their replacement was an overwhelming boredom that would lull you to sleep. Have you ever woken up by your own snoring? I think that happened to me – twice, I may add, while in the throes of reading this book. 
Bloodlines is the spin-off of Mead’s Vampire Academy series. Being a true Belikov sympathizer, I wasn’t really keen on reading this series because I’ve never been a fan of Ivashkov. And yet, I still found myself helplessly looking forward to each instalments. Props to the publicity wheel that continually spins a fervour of excitement before and during their consequent release. 

The plot is severely lacking. I’m sorry to say that reading this book was a waste of my time. It was primarily composed of subplots that had very little relevance to speak of. The mission was to protect Jill from insurgents by going into hiding in a Palm Springs boarding School under the protection of the Alchemists. This is where Sydney Sage’s expertise comes in. Unfortunately for the book, I tire very easily with the shenanigans and antics of kids in a boarding school. In any case, if you’ve read one book in this setting then, you’ve pretty much read them all. There were tidbits of interesting stuff here and there, but not enough to keep my attention for longer than what I’ve already spent on this book.

Sydney Sage was an interesting character on VA but had grown to be lacklustre in Bloodlines. In all honesty, I don’t know how a romance between Sydney and Adrian could develop. Those two did not have a single spark to light a match. I do like Sydney’s smarts but her protective and strict upbringing made her a tad too naive. And while everyone had develop some serious crush on Jill, I was left scratching my head because I did not get it. What is her appeal?

Sadly, this version of Adrian Ivashkov is not the man I loved to hate in VA. He’s tamed, slightly funny and had lost a little bit of his cocky charm.

In the end, Bloodlines series was simply a bust. As much as I want to find out how Sydrian came to be, I’m afraid I just couldn’t continue.

My Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

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Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Publication Date: October 23rd, 2012
Little, Brown BYR
Format: Hardcover, 451 pages
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
Is death the end . . . or only the beginning?
Ethan Wate has spent most of his life longing to escape the stiflingly small Southern town of Gatlin. He never thought he would meet the girl of his dreams, Lena Duchannes, who unveiled a secretive, powerful, and cursed side of Gatlin, hidden in plain sight. And he never could have expected that he would be forced to leave behind everyone and everything he cares about. So when Ethan awakes after the chilling events of the Eighteenth Moon, he has only one goal: to find a way to return to Lena and the ones he loves.
Back in Gatlin, Lena is making her own bargains for Ethan’s return, vowing to do whatever it takes — even if that means trusting old enemies or risking the lives of the family and friends Ethan left to protect.
Worlds apart, Ethan and Lena must once again work together to rewrite their fate, in this stunning finale to the Beautiful Creatures series.

Warning: Spoilers galore. Read at your own risk.

There are books that you savour every page that you read and books that you simply couldn’t wait to finish. Beautiful Redemption was a combination of both. I’ve started reading this book ever since it came out; and as you can tell, it took me a week or so to finally say goodbye. The ending, for us was bittersweet and I’m going to miss every single character of this book. If the ending to Beautiful Chaos left you in a fetal position, sucking your thumb, this book may or may not make up for that. My feelings? Well, this book wasn’t up to scratch – sadly.

Beautiful Redemption finds Gatlin mourning the death of our boy – at least, those who were in the know. Link hounds Lena on the pretense of wanting to protect her. Lena haunts Greenbrier where Ethan was “interred” while Amma and the all the other casters casted a very powerful spell to protect Ethan’s dad from ever knowing his son offed himself by jumping off the water tower. Business as usual in Gatlin except for the fact that their son is conspicuously missing.

Meanwhile, Ethan hasn’t given up hope that he could return to those he loves. In the Otherworld, he’s making deals left and right, finding ways to get back to Lena and attempting to right the wrong that started the whole thing to begin with.

Well, this is where Ethan and Lena’s trials and tribulations come to an end. And while I’m happy with the way this book ended, I can’t help but feel like it was entirely anti-climactic. I thought that they didn’t really struggle and that the authors gave the characters an easy out. Not that they were convenient or anything; I just found that Beautiful Chaos was more suspenseful than this one ever was.

Half the time, Ethan was fighting his battles without having a clue on what to do. And really, who would, right? I mean he’s a teenager who suddenly found himself in the after life trying to figure out how to get back to the real life. Trust me, it wasn’t like the stuff he had to do was easy but he was his own army going into battles with his gun half-cocked. The final showdown between him and the “bad guy” was a bit of a let-down. I expected some black magic kickassery and never got it. It was too tidy and – pardon me for saying this – kind of lame.

Sigh.

However, I love that this has a Lena POV. But what’s a mystery to me was the lack of distinction between their voices. It seemed like Lena and Ethan were the same person. Their thought processes were alike.

As usual, the southern gothic theme in this book was of high calibre. I’ve always found this world mystical and mysterious and the writing duo of Stohl and Garcia never disappoint. The appeal of this series also extends to their colourful secondary characters.

Over all, I think Beautiful Redemption was a good enough adieu to a series that I’ve come to love.  But I think it didn’t live up to its fantastic reputation. This book could’ve been better, which only adds to my grief of it ending.

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Broken by A.E. Rought

Publication Date: January 8th, 2013
Strange Chemistry
Format: E-book
Source: From publisher via Net Galley
RATING: 2 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
Imagine a modern spin on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein where a young couple’s undying love and the grief of a father pushed beyond sanity could spell the destruction of them all.
A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry’s boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late Fall gloom, haunting the cemetery and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the moonlight and the fog.
When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she’s intrigued despite herself. He’s an enigma, melting into shadows, preferring to keep to himself. But he is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely… familiar. From the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks, to the nickname she shared only with Daniel, even his hazel eyes with brown flecks are just like Daniel’s.
The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there’s something very wrong with Alex Franks. And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque and terrifying menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks’ estate, creatures she surely knows must have died from their injuries, she knows.

A modern interpretation of Frankenstein, Broken has the romance some readers would like. Unfortunately, I never did see the romantic side of Mary Shelley’s original work. Hence, this book simply missed the spot for me.

Emma hasn’t really recovered over the loss of her boyfriend, Daniel. She spends most of her time at a cemetery where he should’ve been interned but by his parents’ choice, he’s reduced to ash encased in a jar perched on a mantle at home. She goes through life grieving for Daniel and on some days, it didn’t look like she’d get over him any time soon. Alex Franks’ appearance gave way to a resurgence of life. Daniel still haunts her memories but the newcomer has given her another set of emotions other than sadness. But there’s something odd about Alex – something that’s achingly familiar and haunting.

This book was drawn out. It could’ve used a lot of trimming – especially those parts where Emma spent a lot of time lamenting and mourning. She’s also very descriptive, so much so, that I found her thoughts tend to drift while in the midst of her melancholic angst. It took me a while to finish this book as well. But when I realize that a lot of what I was reading was excess weight and was pretty much a practice in repetitive story telling, I had to stop and do some selective reading. And some of you will probably notice this too.

The writing may be pretty at first. But after a chapter or two, I was fighting off the urge to keep my eyes from rolling to the back of my head. But that doesn’t mean the author’s writing was pedestrian. I think she’s so much better than a lot of other authors out there. She just got too carried away with all the pretties.

The synopsis of the book sounds so charming. I mean, who wouldn’t want to read about a Frankenstein retelling? But Broken’s pretty generic, actually. And it’s why it’ll be a hit with a number of readers who loves the good old mysterious newcomer pining for the girl. It’s also quite predictable and the synopsis pretty much aided to expose the majority of the plot.

Over all, this book is an orthodox YA; nothing remarkable and actually quite disappointing. I liked the first quarter of the book and the last quarter.  I think half of this book should’ve remained unwritten.

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Perigee Moon by Tara Fuller

Publication Date: January 12th, 2012
Crescent Moon Press
Format: Paperback, 259 pages
RATING: 2 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
After a horrific fire claims the life of her mother, seventeen year old Rowan Bliss finds herself in the miniscule town of Ipswich, Massachusetts. It’s here that she meets Alex, a deliciously mysterious boy who holds the key to unlocking her family’s dark secret.
As Rowan falls helplessly over the edge for Alex, the secrets that he insists on keeping refuse to be contained, and the truth that she uncovers challenges everything she has ever believed. Alex is a witch. And now he’s awakened something within her she never even knew existed. But out of all of this, the one thing Rowan won’t accept is the fact that Alex is destined to die.
Now Rowan must unearth the buried power she harbors within to escape a deadly prophecy, defy the very laws of time, and prevent the hands of fate from taking yet another person she loves.

To be honest, I almost wrote this book off as DNF. And it’s not because it was written so horridly. Despite the minor editing issues, Tara Fuller wrote a story that appeals to an audience whose got some mad love for YA paranormal romance – regardless of its tiresome story arcs.  I believe the reviews on Goodreads reflect that.

I’m just over the whole tortured hero scene. Alex could give that boy I’d rather not mention a run for his money. He suffered from wanting to stay away from the literal girl of his dreams but was unable to do so. The push and pull that Alex showed added to the monotony of this novel. It wasn’t only that. I got tired of hearing all his cryptic sentiments – all the times he was on the verge of owning up to his secrets but had decided against it. I could go on about all the times this book resonated that book I’d rather not mention, but I’d rather you read this and judge for yourself.

There are a number of incidents where readers could perceive Rowan as a weak character – least of all, the number of times she fainted in the novel or she cried. And I really get it you know. I get that her mother perished in a house fire where she may have been inadvertently at fault; I get the feeling of frustration when you want to know all the things about a boy you’re attracted to but you can’t because he’s very adept at being evasive. I get how painful it is to know your father couldn’t stand to be in the same State, let alone same house as you. It hasn’t been easy for Rowan since her mother died especially since she may or may not be at fault. But I just couldn’t find it in me to sympathize.

I wish this book spent more time with the element of witchcraft. Unfortunately, much of this novel was about the romance. I think my reaction would be different if there was a balance.

VERDICT: Absence of parental units. The token best friend who appointed herself as the person in charge of making sure Rowan has a social life. The boy who sneaks in her room after the grandparents are asleep.  A heroine oblivious of her charms and beauty. Gratuitous torturous inner monologues (from Rowan and Alex). There are just some of the reasons why I couldn’t find anything special about this book. We’ve been through this before – many times over, in fact. Like I said, there is a huge audience who would fall head over feet for this book. Just not me.

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Review: Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Publication Date: May 8th, 2012
Format: Hardback, 404 pages
Katherine Tegen Books
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
GOODREADS SUMMARY:
Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.
Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.
Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.
Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

Reeling from the recent gruesome death of her best friend, Mac is struggling to find peace. As Amy’s ghost haunt her dreams, her remaining circle of friends seemed to be growing apart. Jason, Amy’s boyfriend is on a downward spiral, while Kyle, Mac’s best friend harbors secrets that involve his clingy ex. But the terror of the citizens of Hemlock is also far from over as wolf attacks persist.  A group of radical werewolves hunters moved in, bringing in extreme views and questionable methods enough to rival the terrors incited by the werewolves themselves. Suddenly, Mac is thrust right in the thick of it all as she tries to save Jason from himself and Kyle from his secrets.

Just when I had my fill of werewolves, Hemlock proves that once again, I really shouldn’t say, NEVER again to the call of these mythical creatures. Kathleen Peacock’s initial offering to her Hemlock trilogy was a fantastic set-up to what promises to be an addictive series. Admittedly, this book has been on my radar since I got wind of it. And let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed.

From a cast of fascinating, well-developed characters, sweet and mostly angst-ridden romance, Hemlock is a novel that had me completely obsessed. For once in my ever-loving life, I actually looked forward to what promises to be a difficult love triangle among the three characters. I say difficult, because I was truthfully torn between the two male leads in the book. And while I’m pervasively into bad boys, Kyle’s sweet disposition had me re-thinking all the reasons why I loved misunderstood bad boys to begin with. But Jason’s brooding, angry outlook in life reels me back in, soaking in all his dark glory. I predict that this love triangle will give me future headaches and not for the usual reasons that I abhor this type of romance. Kathleen Peacock achieved the impossible; she had me checking all my prejudices about werewolves and the dreadful love triangles at the door.

I must admit that I don’t readily accept a reality where mythical creatures exist. I question the whys and the hows – the genesis of the world in the book, if I may. But I was quite satisfied with the premise that it all began with a disease – the lupine syndrome. I liked the ambience that Kathleen conceived in Hemlock. The rabid wolves have the serial killers quality that had me imagining a city on a lockdown at the first sign of trouble. I also loved that not all werewolves were created equal; there were some who constantly battled themselves to fight off the monster within.

The eventual killer in the book was a surprise! I never saw it coming for sure. It almost broke my heart when the culprit was revealed.

The only problem I had with this book is the heroine’s predisposition to face the problems head on, all by her brave self. Yes, it’s a characteristic typical of a hero/heroine in a novel but at times, I couldn’t help but question her state of mind. Sometimes, her justification for not asking someone’s help bordered on stupidity. One thing’s for sure, her courage goes deep and more often, beyond her capacity. But I guess that’s rarely a bad thing, isn’t it? Regardless, I absolutely loved MacKenzie – a refreshing character lacking in fear, fiercely loyal, and an overall admirable heroine.

VERDICT: Mystery, suspense, action, and a realistic, addictive romance guaranteed to torment, Hemlock is a fantastic debut tackling a tired paranormal myth. But don’t fret, this book has some twists that will sure to surprise you.

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Review: Wraith by Angel Lawson

Publication Date: February 7th,2012
Self-Published
Format: Kindle Copy
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
Freak. Weird. Crazy. These are the names tossed around seventeen-year old Jane Watts by her fellow classmates. But things aren’t always as they seem. Sometimes there’s a reason for talking to yourself in the hallway at school.
Adjusting to her new home and school after an abrupt move, Jane wants one thing in life—to be like everyone else at school, but that’s hard to do when you’re the new kid. Although she does manage to make one friend, Evan—he’s sixteen, charming, and protective. Everything a girl could want in a best friend…with one minor caveat.
He’s dead.
Caught somewhere between life and death, Evan is tied to Jane and the living world unable to complete the journey to the other side. She thinks he’s here to be her friend, to take care of her, and that’s why no one can see or hear him.
That is until a new boy shows up at school after a rumored stretch in Juvie. Connor can see Evan and he’s not convinced the ghost is being completely honest. From his own experience ghosts tend to need something from the humans they connect to and Evan, despite his arguments isn’t any different.
Jane is resentful of Connor’s intrusion but realizes soon enough he’s right. Evan has secrets about his past and not only did his life end tragically but members of his family are still in danger. Jane must face her fears and battle Evan’s human demons to free both of them.

I’m always downright giddy when I find a self-pubbed book that I truly enjoyed. And considering Wraith was a freebie when I got it, I say it’s a shame that this book hasn’t really garnered enough attention.

Jane’s reputation in school hasn’t really been stellar – all thanks to a little freak out in the past that involved her and a certain imaginary friend. What she didn’t know at the time was that fact that her imaginary friend, Evan was actually a ghost who was killed by his mother’s abusive boyfriend. After accepting her ability to see spirits, she’d come to appreciate Evan’s presence. Who wouldn’t? Evan was protective, kind, caring and pretty much her only friend, not to mention, he looks pretty awesome for a ghost. But when the school delinquent made known that he could see Evan too, Jane was determined to deny Evan’s existence. It turns out, Connor’s stubborn resolve to help Jane face the reality that Evan was stuck for a reason was founded. He helped them out before.

Jane soon realized that Evan wasn’t happy at all and that he needed to do what he needed to do in order to move on.

Wraith has a very simple storyline, but its simplicity was what got me hooked. I read purely for enjoyment, regardless of how basic the plot is and I honestly read this book in a little less than five hours. The writing was non-convoluted, straightforward and very genuine. Angel Lawson’s take on the ghost story was something that we’ve probably heard of before but what I enjoyed the most about this book was her characters. They were simply real and relatable outside of the whole ghost story. While Jane was a bit of a struggle to like at first, I grew to like her once she got past her reluctant revulsion to Connor.

Evan’s story really struck deep and his desperation to help his family was palpable though not obvious. The family’s struggles were a bit too real for me as it dealt with the vicious cycle of abuse. I always find those stories a bit difficult to get through. I get easily frustrated with the characters’ inability to break the cycle. I tend to question everyone’s weaknesses and though I know that I can’t tell these charactes how to live their lives until I have experienced it first hand, I still get angry.

Verdict: Wraith is a fantastic ghost story from a newbie author. Although her writing is far from perfect, her story was good enough that it would distract you from the slight imperfections. Reading Wraith was a smooth-sailing experience, and though it lacked the goosebumps-inducing ambiance, I’ll argue that there were more to this story than just seance and things that go bump in the night. The romance between Jane and Connor was sweet if not a little short. I’m hopeful that the author will write more about these two mediums in the future because I felt like she didn’t really end the story. I’m definitely keeping Angel Lawson in my author radar!

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