Review: Fable by Adrienne Young

Fable by Adrienne Young
Fable
Adrienne Young
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
Series or Standalone: Fable #1
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 3 Stars

MY REVIEW

I picked up Fable as I was constantly seeing it talked about over on bookstagram. Given it was so hyped up, I went into this with pretty high expectations. Hype can be a problem as a book has to be amazing to live up to it. Unfortunately with this book, I don’t think it lived up to the hype. 

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Review: Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare

Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare
Twice Tempted by a Rogue
Tessa Dare
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: June 22, 2010
Series or Standalone: Stud Club #2
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 3 Stars

MY REVIEW

Twice Tempted by a Rogue is book two in Tessa Dare’s Stud Club series. While I liked this one, I didn’t find the story all that memorable afterward. However, I am liking this series and its characters a lot more than the Wanton Dairymaid series, Dare’s first series.

Note this book does contain descriptions of physical/mental abuse, discussion of suicidal tendencies and forced prostitution so it might not be for everyone.

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Review: A Lady of Persuasion by Tessa Dare

A Lady of Persuasion by Tessa Dare
A Lady of Persuasion
Tessa Dare
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: September 29, 2009
Series or Standalone: The Wanton Dairymaid Series
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 3 Stars

MY REVIEW

And that’s a wrap on the Wanton Dairymaid series! I can safely say, I’m glad to be done with this series as it was not my favorite. A Lady of Persuasion was better than the second book in the series, but not something I can see myself going back to read. 

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Review: Fake by Kylie Scott

Cover of the book Fake by Kylie Scott featuring a black and white image of a man in a wet t-shirt with beach waves behind him.
Fake
By Kylie Scott
Publisher: Kylie Scott
Publication Date: May 18, 2021
Series or Standalone: West Hollywood #1
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating:3 Stars

MY REVIEW

Let me start off by saying that Kylie Scott is the author of one of my all-time favorite books, Lead. That book is such a comfort read and one I find myself going back to over and over again. When I saw Scott was releasing a new romance centered in Hollywood with an actor instead of a band, I knew I needed to read it. 

Fake centers on Patrick Walsh, one of the hottest male movie stars, who finds himself at the center of a scandal that is tarnishing his image and costing him job. To redeem his image, his publicist and him devise a scheme where he’ll fake date Norah Peers, a regular, everyday girl who works at an Italian restaurant Patrick frequents. Yes, this doesn’t seem like the most realistic plot, but it feels relatively tame and believable for a faking dating romance.

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Undeadly by Michele Vail

Undeadly (The Reaper Diaries, #1)Undeadly
Michele Vail
Harlequin Teen
Release Date: November 20, 2012
Series: The Reaper Diaries #1
ISBN: 9780373210466
Websites:
Rating: 3 Stars
This book has been sitting on my TBR list since its release way back in 2012. It was one of those books I wanted to read if I got the chance. Well, I finally got the chance.
My feeling on this book are a bit mixed. I really liked some aspects of it, but others, not so much.  I read this book in one sitting, but there were times when I wanted to put it down. However, I knew if I put this book down, I most likely wouldn’t be picking it up. I was hoping this book would be similar to the Mythos Academy book series or the Covenant series, but it was a bit different than that. I think I might have just been expecting more from this book than it was able to deliver.
I’ll start with what I did like. I really liked the main character, Molly. Michele Vail did a fantastic job writing a character who jumps off the page. Molly voice was one I really liked; she actually sounded like a 16 year old girl. Through her entries in her reaper diaries, you really got to see that Molly was sarcastic and sassy, but also tough and caring. Molly loves her family, despite what she finds out about herself. I was glad that the story was told from Molly’s point of view because she had enough attitude to carry the story. If she wasn’t so strong of a character, I probably would have put this book down and not looked back. 
I really loved the idea of this book. Greek gods and goddesses have been the focus of a lot of retelling recently. It was refreshing to have book focused on the Egypt gods. Personally, I love Egyptian mythology, and was glad to see this book had a focus on Anubis. It is also a zombie book, but not in the way you would expect. Zombies are common place in this world, and they don’t want to eat your brains. Ghosts and spirits also are abound in this book. But with the focus on Anubis, God of the Afterlife, that is almost to be expected.

However, there were also things I didn’t like. I felt like most of the secondary characters, with the exception of Molly’s family, were very bland. They lacked depth and were forgettable. I can’t even remember the names of her friends at Nekyia; they ended up blending into the background. And then there is Rick and Rath. I found nothing interesting in either of them. I know that Rath is supposed to be the hot reaper tutor, but I felt like I knew nothing about him. He was just there to serve as love interest. The romance was stale and felt not existent, both with Rick and Rath. Molly’s feelings for Rath came out of no where, and that annoyed me. I really wished that the secondary characters had more substance to them. 
The pacing of this book was a bit off. I was interested in the plot, but things would happen too fast and without a lot of explanation. I would have to accept some plot points without really understanding them. Other parts of the novel dragged, or just didn’t fit with what previously happened. It was a struggle to continue reading when the pacing was all over the place. 
While Undeadly did not meet my expectations, I enjoyed most of it. Molly was a great character who was able to make me laugh and sympathize with her. I definitely want to see what happens next, especially with an ending that is a cliffhanger. The concept of this book was very intriguing, but failed to deliver at sometimes. Despite the issues I had, I do plan on continuing this series to see where Michele Vail takes us. 

Icons by Margaret Stohl

Icons
Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Series or Standalone: Icons #1
ISBN: 0316205184
Format: ARC
Pages: 428
Websites:
Rating: 3 Stars
Icons was one of those books that I couldn’t fully get into. I didn’t hate but I didn’t love it, it was mehh. Icons had a lot of potential and I am interested to see were this series goes, but as the first book in a series it felt very jumbled and disconnected.
Icons is set in the not so distant future in a post-invasion world where aliens hold the complete control and most of the population has been killed. As the tagline says “Your heart only beats with their permission.” It is hard for me to describe what sort of world, Dol, the main character, is living in because I couldn’t really get a clear picture of what it was like. This post-invasion world didn’t seem to be fully constructed which oftentimes left me feeling confused. The politics of this world also were confusing. I did not really understand why things were happening, or why the Ambassadors were so bad or what was up with the rebellion faction. I felt I had to struggle to put together the pieces of this world, something that should be clearly developed in the first book of a series.
The characters in the book left me wanting more. I couldn’t connect to any of them. They were all so flat and emotionless, though as children of the Icon, emotionless they shouldn’t be. The romance in the book felt stale, probably because of the lack of depth in the characters. The only character I found remotely interesting was Doc, and he was an artificial intelligence.
The plot was intriguing enough that it kept me turning the pages. There was plenty of action and mystery to keep me interested in finding out more. I really enjoyed how between chapters there would be different artifacts or clips that related to the plot in a  not so clear way until the end. The biggest thing that kept me reading was the mystery of the Icons. Well, that’s not fully answered in this book, but I look forward to finding more out of them.
As a first book in a series, Icons left me feeling confused and wanting more. I expected more from this book than it gave me. I’ll be reading the sequel because the story was interesting enough to make me want to keep reading, but I hope in the next book the world and characters are more developed. I can’t help but compare this post-alien invasion book to another new alien invasion book, The 5thWave by Rick Yancey, and this just falls flat in comparison to that. Hopefully Margaret Stohl can deliver more in the next Icon series book.   

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone

Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Series or Standalone: The Grisha Trilogy #1
ISBN: 9780805094596
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 368
Websites:
Leigh Bardugo – Website
Leigh Bardugo – Blog
Leigh Bardugo – Twitter
Shadow and Bone – Facebook

Rating: 3 stars

I feel like I went into this book with very high expectations that it did not meet. Everywhere I looked prior to publication of this book I saw glowing reviews of this book and was super excited to read it. Shadow and Bone seemed right up my ally, and it was a YA fantasy to boot, so I couldn’t wait to read it. However, I was a bit confused about how I felt after I finished and a bit disappointed.

I liked the first half of the book, but I felt that the second half of the book fell apart for me. The pace seemed to accelerate in the second half and everything Alina knew up to that point seemed to go out the window and we were supposed to side with her. I wish that when Alina changed her mind there was more explanation.

I feel like this book really could have benefitted from a slower pace and more world building. With fantasy, world building is key and I really wished that this book had a bit more of it, especially with it being the first book in a series. I wasn’t too sure about this society and land that Alina was from and would have liked to learn more about Ravka before diving straight into the story.

Alina felt like a very flat character to me as well. I liked her, but I didn’t understand why she made the decisions she did. She was very one-dimensional and lacked a strong personality. I really wish she was a bit more developed because it would strengthen the book as a whole.

The Darkling was definitely my favorite character. He had the most engrossing personality and definitely was one of the main reasons I kept reading the book. He was surrounded by mystery and I really enjoyed trying to figure out what he was all about. Was he good or was he bad? I still think it could be up in the air and really want to see more of him.

I really would have liked to see more character development with Mal as well as with a lot of the other secondary characters. Mal, like Alina, felt flat. I feel we didn’t know enough about him to fully appreciate him as a character or become attached to him. Alina liked him but I couldn’t fully see why.

I finished this book and the first thought I had was “huh.” I will probably be sticking around to see what happens next as I did enjoy the story and want to see what happens next, despite the issues I had with the book. Hopefully in the second book, we will learn more about Ravka, the Grisha and Alina’s world as well as see more character growth. I just wish this had been a strong fantasy. 

Dark Souls by Paula Morris + Giveaway

Dark
Souls

Paula Morris
Publisher: Point
Release Date: August 1, 2011
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 9780545251327
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 292
Source: Big Honcho Media
Websites:
Rating: 3 Stars

I have to admit, Dark Souls is one of those really hard
books to review because I did not love it and I did not hate it. My thoughts
are somewhere in the middle and that is always the hardest to describe.
Dark Souls was
an interesting read. And I know, interesting is the best word, but really, I
cannot think of another word. I really liked how Paula Morris set up the story
and introduced us to the world of ghosts. While this book involves seeing
ghosts, it did feel like a paranormal novel. The ghosts were just part of
Miranda’s life, something she sees after witnessing the death of her best
friend in a car accident. I really liked how Paula Morris explained the reason
for why Miranda can see ghosts, and why any other person who sees ghosts
actually sees them. There was no paranormal explanation, more of an emotional
one which I really liked.
Something about this book
made me keep reading it. I was indifferent to the plot of the book, but I did
want to keep reading to find out what will happen and what was up with the
mysterious Nick and the ghosts in York. I was not on the edge of my seat or
anything while I was reading, I was merely reading just to move the plot along.
One thing that I really did
like about this book was the writing. Paula Morris gives really amazing
descriptions. Her descriptions of York were beautiful and really helped to
establish the setting of the novel. While I was reading, I was tempted by her
descriptions to actually look up the places were the novel takes place and was
amazed at how accurate her descriptions were.
Another thing I really liked
was the relationship between Miranda and her brother Rob. Rob was in the driver
in the car accident which killed Miranda’s friend and he is carrying around
some emotional baggage like Miranda. I really liked that you could tell Miranda
and Rob really cared for each other and I loved their conversations with each
other because they really felt like actual brother and sister and you can tell
they cared for each other.
While I liked the
relationship between Miranda and Rob, the relationship between Miranda and Nick
just did not work for me. Something about it just did not work for me. I’m not
sure what it really is, if it was the character of Nick himself or just there
interactions, but something fell flat. Nick was an intriguing character on his
own, but Miranda and him together just did not work.
I felt that Dark Souls was missing that special
something that makes me really like a book. I don’t know what that special
something really is, it’s different for each book, but this one just was
missing it. It did not click for me. Don’t get me wrong the book was good,
nothing I really did not like but it just did not blow me away. And sometimes
that happens with books.

Thanks to Big Honcho Media I have TWO copies of Dark Souls to giveaway. Here’s a bit more about the book:

Miranda Tennant arrives in York with a terrible, tragic secret. She is eager to lose herself amid the quaint shops, hoping she won’t run into the many ghosts who supposedly roam the cobblestone streets. Then she meets Nick, an intense, dark-eyed boy who knows all of York’s hidden places and histories. Miranda wonders if Nick is falling for her, but she is distracted by another boy — one even more handsome and mysterious than Nick. He lives in the house across from Miranda and seems desperate to send her some sort of message. Could this boy be one of York’s haunted souls?

Soon, Miranda realizes that something dangerous — and deadly — is being planned. And she may have to face the darkest part of herself in order to unravel the mystery — and find redemption.

Photo Credit: Robert Trathan

About the Author:

Paula Morris is the author of Ruined, and has published several novels for adults in her native New Zealand. She has lived in a number of cities around the world, including York, England. She now lives in Glasgow, Scotland, and teaches creative writing at the University of Stirling. Visit her online at www.paula-morris.com.

Paula Morris will also be featured on the This Is Teen Facebook page for Dark Souls so make sure to check it out!

Giveaway Rules:
 -Fill out the form below completely
-Open to US residents only
-Must be 13 years or old to enter. If under 13, parental consent is required.
-One entry per person. Multiple entries will be deleted
-Ends September 1, 2011

Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly

Angel Burn

L.A. Weatherly
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: May 24, 2011
Series or Standalone: Angel Trilogy #1
ISBN: 0763656526
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 464
Source: BEA
Websites:
Rating: 3 Stars
Angel Burnoffers a new take on the ever-popular angels. This is not your typically angel book in any way. L.A. Weatherly has created a new type of angel, one that is not benevolent, kind or angelic, which provides the basis for a good read.
I liked Angel Burn. It was not the stereotypical angel book, which made me enjoy this book a lot more. The angels in this book are down right frightening. One my level of scary angels, they are just below the weeping angels from Doctor Who. Weatherly has created a world based off these frightening angels. The angels are not nice at all, they feed off of humans leaving them with angel burn and it basically destroys the human’s life. I loved the whole aspect of the Church of Angel. The angels are disguised as humans and gain a human following, but the humans have no idea the effect the angels are having on them. The Church of Angels seemed like a cult, and was seemed like a frightening place to be if you know what those angels were doing. The angels that Weatherly created made me really like this book. The books stand-out from all the other angel books.
I really liked the shifting point of views. The story was told from first person from Willow but also let the read see the point of view of Alex and even the angels at times. The different perspectives worked really well into building the story. I also really liked that both Willow and Alex had very strong, distinctive voices.
However, I felt the pacing on this book was a bit off. I wish at parts that the pacing was slower and at other parts that it was faster. Also, there was bit too much of instant-love for me that made me really wish Alex and Willow’s relationship was slowed down a lot. The action at the end happened very quickly and left me a bit confused as to what happened that I need to reread a few pages to figure it out. There needed to be a better balance with the pacing of this book.
Overall, I enjoyed Angel Burn. The angels that Weatherly has created are awesome and they make the book for me. I’m interested to see where the next book in the series takes us and to learn more about the angels.