Friday, September 12, 2014

Review: Inescapable (The Premonition, #1) by Amy A. Bartol

My name is Evie Claremont and this was to be the making of me–my freshman year of college. I’d been hoping that once I’d arrived on Crestwood’s campus, the nightmare that I’ve been having would go away. It hasn’t.
I may be an inexperienced seventeen-year-old, but I’m grounded…sane. I look for rational explanations to even the strangest circumstances. Since meeting sophomore Reed Wellington, however, nothing makes any sense. Whenever he’s near, I feel an attraction to him–a magnetic kind of force pulling me towards him. I know what you’re thinking…that sounds fairly awesome. Yeah, it would be…if he liked me, but Reed acts as if I’m the worst thing that has ever happened to Crestwood…or him. But get this, for some reason every time I turn around he’s there, barging into my life.

What is the secret that he’s keeping from me? I’m hoping that it’s anything but what I suspect: that he’s not exactly normal…and neither am I. So, maybe Crestwood won’t be the making of me, but it could be the breaking of me. I’ve been left to wonder if the dark future my dream is foretelling is…inescapable.

If you're familiar with this blog and my tastes than you're aware that I'm a sucker for a great series.  This series opener by Bartol quickly grabbed my attention and had me flying through the pages wondering how it had taken me so long to find the series as well as her writing.  How it's possible that a book like this has been out there since 2011 and escaped my notice boggled my mind, but in the end I was just glad that I'd finally found it.

I love a good college age story because let's face it, there's something fresh and enticing about students getting a clean slate at a new place with new people and nothing but choices ahead of them.  Freedoms are given and responsibility doubles, but it gives everyone a chance to spread their wings, so to speak and see how they fare on their own in a lot of ways.  Evie is no different than every other college freshman trying to get her bearings and make a place for herself at her new school...except for these nightmares she's having.  And they aren't just normal run of the mill scary dreams.  They recur and cause more than just loss of sleep.  Throw in an attractive upperclassman with instant attraction and of course the attitude that typically follow and we've got ourselves quite an addictive mix.

Evie will have to make her way through more than just introductory classes, but uncovering secrets and questions will be her biggest hurdle right off the bat.  Is she overreacting or is there more to this sophomore heartthrob?  Are her dreams just that?  Or is there some force at work that's trying to warn her of something?  And even if she gets the hint, will she figure it all out in time?  That's basically what Bartol reels you in with...suspense and questions that quickly answer themselves only to be replaced with more to keep you guessing and reading faster.  It's a great combination and one that had me making my way through this first book very quickly only to add the other installments in the series to my library as well in order to avoid having to take breaks from all the fun!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Review: Consume (Devoured, #2) by Shelly Crane

Eli and Clara's story continues as she tries to finish high school. Eli is as over protective as ever and Tate and his group of friends are no help. They wait for the Horde, always looking over their shoulder. But the ever annoying but strangely prophetic bird begins to become more of a chatter box and Eli learns something that could change some things. Not just for him and Clara, but Devourers everywhere.

Then an unexpectedness guest comes forcing Eli to flee with Clara, leaving her temporary family behind. She is thrown into his world of underground 'traitors' and learns much of his past. They meet many new people and creatures along the way to freedom. But when tragedy strikes the two, will Clara see the monster in Eli? Can she handle his strange world and awful past? Will one of them lose their life forever...

I'm jumping right in, much the same way Crane picked up in this sequel where she left off in the opener.  Just a warning, reviews of sequels and any installments that follow a series opener are hard to put together without spoilers, so if you haven't read this series opener yet, just know that it's a series you should get on board with immediately and come back to check out the reviews later, but if you're already finished with the first installment read on. 

Clara of course was ever hopeful that she'd be able to finish off high school and maybe tie a neat bow around everything but with the Horde an ever present threat a lot of that was out of her control.

Eli on the other hand has two priorities...keep Clara safe being the first and most important to him and then of course trying to ensure her happiness.  It's a tough job, but clearly one he wasn't walking away from.  Once these two were forced to flee, his goals start to become harder to maintain, but the action and suspense sure do get your heart pounding.  The new character additions were interesting and certainly threw curve balls into the mix, but who doesn't enjoy it when an author spices things up, right?

I know a lot of readers will be sad to see Crane end Eli and Clara's story after just two books, but at least we have a chance to see some more of them in Enoch's story, Altered.  I for one am really looking forward to getting more from Enoch.  I'm curious to see if he'll surprise us when he's center stage and I'm eager to find out.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Review: Devour (Devoured, #1) by Shelly Crane

Clara has it all. A wrestling star boyfriend, popular friends, all the right school activities...pretty much a perfect life...up until her parents died. Now she lives with the Pastor and his family and though they take good care of her, she feels alone. Then her boyfriend, Tate, starts to show signs of trouble when a new guy, Eli, comes to town. Clara is fascinated with him but hides it until something happens. Eli confesses to her that she gives him something he's never had before...something he needs. Everything is about to change for this normal pretty popular girl in a supernatural way.

I didn't think anything would stand up to the Significance series but Crane thankfully proved not to be a one (series) hit wonder.  The Devoured series quickly became yet another addicting read.  Clara and Eli, oh my goodness!  There are two huge reasons Crane always keeps me coming back for more.  One, her lead characters and the relationships they form.  And two, the fact that there are always more questions and twists and turns with each flip of the page to keep readers entertained and guessing until the very end.  She never allows her readers to become complacent or bored.

Choosing sides is of course a familiar element in Crane's work and readers will feel as though its not just the fictional characters making choices but themselves as well.  That's at least the feeling I got when making my way through this title.  Could you choose sides against your friends and family?  Go against everything you thought you knew to be right?  I could almost hear the disapproval in The Godfather's words, to "never go against the family" but yet unless you're in the shoes and faced with those decisions, it's a tough call to make.

Readers all over the blogosphere are claiming to have been "devoured" by this book and I'm not different.  Crane's given me no choice but to become invested in these characters and the world she created.  There was no question that I was going to move right along to the next installment.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Review: Full Moon (The Crescent, #3) by Jordan Deen

You know her story. You know her painful initiation into the werewolf world and you’ve seen her struggle to find the truth.

Now, Lacey Quinn is ready for the war to be over. Are you?
Lacey has been used, lied to and cheated out of the only thing she ever wanted: independence. Struggling with her newfound knowledge of being pack leader, Alex coming back into her life and the kidnapping of Lily’s mate—Matt—Lacey is faced with one of the biggest decisions of her life: fight or flight. While she knows running from the war will risk many lives, but staying means she would never have the life she wants and quite possibly never know a world without werewolves, witches and war.
Sometimes doing the right thing isn’t always the first or most obvious choice. Lacey Quinn is about to challenge what everyone thinks is the right thing to do. Unfortunately for her, most will not agree with her decision or the painful outcome.

Sometimes, love means death.

Jordan Deen will forever be someone who never ceases to surprise and impress me.  Her Crescent series made me a fan from the first installment and without question kept me interested long after that.  A good amount of time has passed between the sequel and Full Moon's release.  As a fan I fell right back into step feeling that it wasn't difficult to pick up where it left off or that it required any re-reads on my part.  Publishing company changes, new cover art, but Deen's writing style remained consistent, her plot kept up with the action and her characters were as likable as always.

There were lots of new faces this time around but Deen somehow managed to minimize the confusion that inevitably can occur with so many elements in a series as detailed as hers.  But I was left wondering if this was the end of the series to be honest.  There's definitely room for more installments in my opinion and it would of course be my preference, but its unclear.  Her spin off series involving the recently introduced Lune coven is in the works and maybe that's what readers will have to content themselves with and maybe that will work out.  These are all questions I'll be eager to have answered and I'll be checking out the Web constantly hoping for updates.  But if I had my way I'd ask for one more installment centered around the wolves...there's still a few details I'd like to see play out...and I'm just not ready to say goodbye for good to these characters that I've grown so attached to over the years.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Review: Dark Craving (The Watchers, #4.5) by Veronica Wolff



Tracer Ronan has cared for only one person in his life: Charlotte, his sister. With her death, a consuming desire for revenge and destruction ignited in his heart. But when new recruit Annelise Drew arrives on the island, Ronan finds he craves more than revenge. She is a threat to his mission, his sanity, and his heart. Now Ronan will need every ounce of will and strength to avenge his sister and prove where his true allegiance lies.

Tracer Ronan shares his secrets with no one. But will he survive his darkest cravings?

Shorter reviews for shorter titles and boy do I wish this novella had been longer, because I could not get enough of what Wolff brought to the table.  Wolff did an incredible job of giving Ronan's perspective and life to his side of the story...and what a story it turns out to be.  There was so much information packed into this novella that I just can't imagine how lost readers would be if they failed to pick this one up.  It's not just a side turns out to be THE story.  So if you're a fan of this series, following the series, or just wanting to check something out, you've got to make sure to add this title to your collection.

Yes, Ronan's narration provided some fun additions in the back story department, but there was so much detail throughout that predominantly took place where The Keep left off.  And if readers thought The Keep left us all with a crazy cliffhanger than this one will blow their did for me.  I thought this novella would help keep me at bay while I waited for the next full installment in the series, but I was wrong!  I want the new books even more so thanks a bunch for that Veronica Wolff!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

In My Mailbox (136)

This is a meme that I first heard about from Kristi over at The Story Siren and immediately wanted to jump on board. I'm always picking up new books, because I never tire of reading, but the other thing I like about this meme is that it gives everyone an opportunity to check out what other book fanatics, bloggers, etc... got for themselves. I've gotten great recommendations from this meme and hope that keeps up in the future.

Here's what I got, what did you guys get this week?

  For Review:
Eris Helgren knew her life was about to end. A daughter of the Priory--a generations-old family who protected their territories from nightwalkers--Eris was strong and independent. But on her birthday, her father would announce her betrothal. A year later, she would be forced to marry.

What Eris didn’t know was that the very beings she hunted were watching her, and that being tamed wasn’t what would kill her after all.

In a land where the woods were forbidden and the laws meant life, Eris will have to make a decision that could bring peace between enemies, or war among friends.
A city in flames. A trust betrayed. A perfect love destroyed.

Has Aria lost Hunter, her one true love?

Ever since rebellion broke out in Mystic City, pitting the ruling elite against the magic-wielding mystics, Aria has barely seen her boyfriend. Not surprising, since Hunter is the leader of the mystic uprising, and he'll do whatever it takes to win freedom for his people—even if that means using Aria.

But Aria is no one's pawn. She believes she can bring the two warring sides together, save the city, and win back the Hunter she fell in love with.

Before she can play peacemaker, though, Aria will need to find the missing heart of a dead mystic. The heart gives untold powers to whoever possesses it, but finding it means seeking out a fierce enemy whose deepest desire is for Aria to be gone—forever.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Review: The Keep (The Watchers, #4) by Veronica Wolff


Drew has just started her second year on the Isle of Night, and the weather isn’t the only thing changing drastically. She has ascended to the rank of Initiate. She’s also found an intimate love in the handsome vampire, Carden. But most of all, she no longer dreams of escape. She dreams of vengeance.

Her friend, Emma, was brutally wounded by the savage vampire Alcántara, and may have been taken to the dreaded castle, from which none of the living return. But there are so many different stories from so many people with so many of their own deceits and machinations, Drew can’t be sure of anything—except that she must find a way into the castle to discover the truth and take down Alcántara once and for all.

But Drew isn’t the only one out for revenge. Someone very dangerous on the island is also out for blood…


The action continues and mystery still abounds in Wolff's fourth installment of The Watchers series.  While Carden played center stage in the last book (and is still featured here) Wolff decided to bring Ronan back to the main events.  I most certainly wasn't complaining about that.  This love triangle has always been a bit unique but I've always thought Ronan and Drew were better suited and dare I say, destined for one another.  Let's face facts, without Ronan, Drew wouldn't have survived as long as she has despite her prowess on the island.

This time around the trainees and initiates aren't playing so nice...but it's not like they've ever been striving for Junior League or Debutante status.  Assassination 101 is on the forefront in everyone's mind and of course there are casualties.  Attack after attack after attack, Wolff kept me on the edge of my seat, desperate to know how it would all play out.  And talk about secrets being revealed!  Let's just say the front door isn't the only way into the off limits Keep and Drew never let the saying "curiosity killed the cat" deter her.

Great risks are taken, Alcantara's mind games would drive anyone crazy, the action doesn't stop and the suspense will keep the pages turning for sure.  While readers wait for Wolff's fifth installment to be scheduled for release, Dark Craving, a novella for the series with Ronan's narration should tide us over, at least temporarily.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Review: Opposition (Lux, #5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.

She can't believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing.

It's come to my attention this past month that a lot of my favorite series' are coming to an end.  While I have no shortage of titles on my TBR list, it's sad and bittersweet that I've had to say goodbye to so many wonderful worlds, characters, and stories.  Armentrout pulled me into her Lux series a few years ago when the first installment came out and I felt as though my countdown would never end to get the chance to find out what would happen to Daemon and Katy in Opposition.  But find out we did.
Craziness abounds in this final installment and Armentrout does it at break neck speed.  Her writing style as always flows quickly but in a fluid way that readers will never complain about.  The siblings were reunited so to speak with their own kind and they were without a doubt outnumbered.  The Luxen presented a unique addition when they showed up and no longer were the Origins at the top of the food chain.  But Armentrout's characters have never been the type to lay down and give up and nothing changed when the obstacles mounted and their hopes dwindled. 
I went through just about every emotion possible with each page I turned and the stress I experienced while reading this book left me reeling.  I'm always surprised when authors are able to draw me in so completely that I have trouble doing anything else in my daily life.  I love it when I can't stand the thought of putting a book down, staying up late to finish even just one more chapter, wishing more than anything that characters found weren't works of fiction.  These are all experiences that I have each and every time I pick up one of Jennifer's books.
I hate that the series is over, but Jennifer found a way to leave me content with how things turned out, and eager for her to start a new and fresh series filled with equally wonderful people inside!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Review: Taming Darkness (Artemis Lupine, #4) by Catherine Banks

Things aren't going like anyone planned and life keeps throwing one curve ball after another at Artemis and Ares. Can she live up to the prophecy or have they been wrong this entire time? Join them as they try to right the balance of light and dark in the final installment of Artemis Lupine's life.
I know this series doesn't have a following quite like some others that are out there now, but for the life of me I can't really figure out why?  Has it just not gotten enough exposure?  Is it because it was one of Banks' first series and her name is still unfamiliar to some readers?  Whatever the reason is I'm hoping with crossed fingers that it changes, and sooner rather than later.  Readers who haven't had the chance to check out this series couldn't come into it at a better time.  All four installments are out and available now so there won't be any waiting for the next title, or counting down until a copy can be theirs.  Readers don't have to take a break in between each book, but can fly through all four as quickly as they like.  But be will most definitely feel like it's over in a blink and like me, readers may find themselves disappointed that a goodbye must be said to these characters and the world that Banks has created.
I myself, was one of the readers out there that admittedly did not pick this book up in any part due to the cover art.  There isn't anything wrong with it, but there's no denying the fact that there is cover art out there now that will just blow your mind and leave you with no other choice but to see if the writing found between the the pages can live up to that beauty.  But that aside, there isn't too much I can say in the negative when it comes to Banks' Artemis Lupin series.  It might not flow the same as other stories do, and it's not without critique that I write this review, but this series was just so entertaining that I enjoyed it from the series opener all the way through the final installment.
Her characters are simple, but in the best possible way.  They wear their hearts on their sleeves so to speak, and readers get to know them a little more with each turn of the page.  Banks left her readers with a mind blowing cliffhanger in the last installment and I wasn't sure how things would progress after that doozy, but somehow she managed it flawlessly.  As much as I love our leads, Artemis and Ares, it was nice to see Victor play a more dominant role is this book, and the addition of even more new faces and names was a great bonus.  I most definitely wasn't sure how she would wrap up the series, and as crazy as it turned out to be, I wouldn't have it any other way.  While I'm sad to see this series end, I think Banks did her characters, her series, and her readers justice.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Review: Beautiful Oblivion (Beautiful, #3) by Jamie McGuire

The Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster phenomenon continues in the first heart-pounding new adult romance in The Maddox Brothers series.

Fiercely independent Camille "Cami" Camlin gladly moved on from her childhood before it was over. She has held down a job since before she could drive, and moved into her own apartment after her freshman year of college. Now tending bar at The Red Door, Cami doesn’t have time for much else besides work and classes, until a trip to see her boyfriend is cancelled, leaving her with a first weekend off in almost a year.

Trenton Maddox was the king of Eastern State University, dating co-eds before he even graduated high school. His friends wanted to be him, and women wanted to tame him, but after a tragic accident turned his world upside down, Trenton leaves campus to come to grips with the crushing guilt.

Eighteen months later, Trenton is living at home with his widower father, and works full-time at a local tattoo parlor to help with the bills. Just when he thinks his life is returning to normal, he notices Cami sitting alone at a table at The Red.

As the baby sister of four rowdy brothers, Cami believes she’ll have no problem keeping her new friendship with Trenton Maddox strictly platonic. But when a Maddox boy falls in love, he loves forever—even if she is the only reason their already broken family could fall apart.

In the first installment of the Maddox Brothers books, readers can experience the rush of reading Beautiful Disaster for the first time, all over again.

It's no secret on this blog that I love everything Jamie McGuire puts out on the bookshelves.  She quickly stole my heart when Beautiful Disaster came out, and ever since I've been craving everything and anything that she puts in writing.  This first installment in the Maddox Brothers books was no different.  Readers will see that all of their old favorites are back and new favorites have been added to the scene as well.  I've always marveled out how well she develops her characters, how quickly they turn from just people on pages to people I'd love to call friends of my very own.  And honestly who can resist these male leads that steal your heart and leave you swooning with their persistence and huge hearts!

As a fan of Trent Maddox from the earlier Beautiful series installments, I was over the moon to be given the chance at seeing more of him, learning more about him and his situation, and realizing that Travis isn't the only Maddox boy that was raised right.  The Maddox men may have lost their mother at a young age, but between their dad and their brothers, they grew up with great values and genuine outlooks on life.  It's not just how McGuire has these men treating the women they're interested in either.  It's the bond and relationships they've made amongst themselves that really always get to me the most.  I can't imagine a family closer and whether it's because of the huge loss they suffered early on, or just how McGuire imagined they'd be, they're just about perfect in the most wonderful way!

I'm more than pleased that McGuire has decided not to stop her Beautiful series with the end of Travis and Abby's story, and that we'll get to see more of this Maddox family down the road.  The twists and turns she threw into this installment left me more than shocked and oh so very excited to see what she'd come up with next when we get a closer look at Thomas Maddox.


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