Review: The Conspiracy of Us-Maggie Hall

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cooltext1889161239 copyA fast-paced international escapade, laced with adrenaline, glamour, and romance–perfect for fans of Ally Carter.

Avery West’s newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead. To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family–but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she’s falling in love with.

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The Conspiracy of Us is a thrilling mystery rich in historical puzzles and political intrigue. Part treasure hunt and wild goose chase, The Conspiracy of Us is a whirlwind of adrenaline, violence, and pageantry.

PROS:

  • The historical reference to Alexander the Great, Egypt, and the trek across the world scrambling for clues was colorful and engaging. Glimpses of Paris, Istanbul, and other countries were a cultural explosion of light. The 12 houses, their symbols, the genetics, it all combined for layers of lies, deceit, and mystery that gave the story a very Da Vinci Code
  • Stellan, be still my Slav loving heart! Deadly, semi-vicious, enigmatic, Stellan has a bad boy image with dazzling good looks. Underneath the deadly exterior is a playful flirt whose emotions are sporadic. One moment hot, the next murderous, you never know quite what you’re going to get. Besides his mystique, Stellan is after Avery’s heart. It goes beyond the questionable nature of her heritage, the pet name he gives her, the accent, his love for his sister will melt your heart.
  • Luc was a pleasant surprise of a character. He’s got flair and style, he’s charismatic and deep, there’s something about him that you can relate to.
  • There was a twist that took a supernatural turn that was so unexpected that it left me reeling, had no idea where it came from. THAT ENDING.

CONS:

  • Plot clues were blatant and so obvious that it was easy to stay steps ahead of the characters (for the most part). Parts that should have shocked fell flat because there were so many clues. At the same time, the clues left by Emerson were bare bones hints that were near impossible to sift through. How Avery and Jack make sense of them is a tad farfetched and oddly enough, too simple.
  • Avery lacked development. There wasn’t a lot of personal or emotional information about her. I had a hard time connecting with her because so much of who she is as a person was missing. I had several questions about this mysterious, closed-off girl that were left unanswered. Avery’s likes and dislikes, her passions were left out and it made it difficult to attach a distinct personality to her character.
  • Chemistry between Avery and Jack was off. Their actions are overwhelming and disconnected. The extent of Avery’s feelings and the escalation didn’t add up, there wasn’t substantial build up or even instalove…It just was and it seemed random.

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ARC Review: The Witch Hunter-Virginia Boecker

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Release Date: June 2, 2015

cooltext1889161239 copyThe magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut.

Your greatest enemy isn’t what you fight, but what you fear.

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king’s best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she’s accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.

Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that’s been laid upon him.

But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth’s witch hunting past–if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she’s thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.

Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.

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***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Little Brown Books for Young Readers.

You know that magical, exhilarating feeling when you find a book that you’ve been searching for, that giddy happiness that finally, FINALLY, someone answered your bookish prayers? The Witch Hunter was that book for me. Full of quirky characters, passion, magic, and twists that have you speeding through pages, The Witch Hunter is a must read. 

PROS:

  • The story from the very first page is gripping and borderline addictive, you want to know more and as the twists, turns, and danger mounts, the nail-biting certainty of an unhappy ending swells. Nothing is predictable, each turn is a surprise and I genuinely feared for Elizabeth. In a couple of pages, I was so invested in Elizabeth that anything that happened to her felt like a personal attack. 
  • The combination of what reads like historical fiction, Arthurian legend, and good old-fashioned fantasy takes you to another world. The witch burnings, the torture methods, everything is graphic and boldly written. Every ounce of carnage and pain is there full-frontal and piercing. I got lost in this world of magical creatures, BA hunters, and sadistic politicians. You’ll never feel comfortable trusting the majority of the characters because everything is uncertain and things can go from bad to worse with little notice. This is the kind of story that keeps you on your toes. 
  • Elizabeth is a relatable heroine. She never claims to be invincible. She has real fears that are heartbreaking and potent. She’s terrified of ending up alone and after the trauma of her childhood it’s like a punch straight to the heart. Elizabeth is a fiery little thing when she’s riled up. She’s bold, courageous and believes what she does is righteous. Sometimes she’s puzzled and conflicted, she struggles to sort through her feelings and her guilt is intense. Crafty, determined, and wily, Elizabeth is the kind of heroine I can get behind.
  • Secondary characters are charming, hilarious, and just as loveable as Elizabeth. Fifer is saucy, honest, the kind of blunt that is like a slap in the face but comical at the same time. Fifer’s love interest is complex, her short-fuse makes for constant entertainment and more than anything, her heart will win you over. Schuyler is a flirty, playful revenant. He’s witty, sexy, and dangerous, everything you’d want in a paranormal sidekick. George is a drunken fool but insanely lovable. John. Holy hotness. Calculating, practical, intense, not only is he gorgeous but his compassion makes him 10x more attractive.
  • John and Elizabeth are adorable. They’re shy and uncertain. It’s uplifting and wonderful watching their relationship grow. 
  • Blackwell is a wicked mastermind. The sheer level of plotting and evil plans is intricate and it’s hard to guess the endgame.
  • I loved the inclusion of several paranormal creatures, folk beliefs, herb uses, and reference to the Green Knight.

CONS:

  • Elizabeth’s attraction to Caleb was more telling than showing. The emotional build up wasn’t there. While Caleb and Elizabeth do have a past and those memories are revisited throughout the story, the chemistry is absent, despite what Elizabeth maintains. The final moments with Caleb were a bit of a letdown. I expected more emotion, more tears. 

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ARC Review, Interview & Giveaway: The Legend of the Light Keeper-Kelly Hall

Keeper of the Light - SliderLight KeepersGoodreads/Amazon/B&N

Title: The Legend of the Light Keeper (Light Keeper series, #1)-Kelly Hall Publication Date: March 25, 2015 Publisher: Booktrope

cooltext1889161239 copyAfter a hurricane destroys her home, Lily Jordan is ready for life to get back to normal. That would be easy if her mother’s recent engagement hadn’t landed her in a house along Southeast Texas’ most haunted ghost road.

The secluded scenic road is steeped in rich history and legends, but when Lily is given an old diary on her birthday, will she find that those legends hold more for her future than she’s bargained for?

With the help of new friends, Hunter and Owen, and forbidden love, Talon, will she uncover dark secrets from the past and find the key to her own gifts? Is it fate or circumstance that brought her to her new home?

Normal gives way to the paranormal in book one of the Light Keeper series where mystery and suspense will keep you guessing until the very last page.

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  1. Do you believe in ghosts? 

Yes, I also believe in varying degrees and types of hauntings.

  1. What are some of your favorite ghost stories?

It’s hard to name a popular one, there are so many, but for me I really love hearing other people tell their accounts. It’s fascinating to me to listen to someone’s experience and be able to see their emotions when they tell them.

  1. Have you ever been to a haunted house?

Yes, I have. I have a friend I grew up with that lived in a house where I experienced things when I would sleep over. Sounds, seeing apparitions, windows closing on their own, and she even had her own claims of poltergeist type hauntings. Her mother always said the house was haunted by a little girl and one of our other friends believed that the little girl followed her home one night. There have been other places where I felt things but I think that most houses will take on the energy of the people who once lived there. I believe that our emotions and energies leave imprints.

  1. What inspired this story?

I really just wanted to write a book that no one else had ever written, about something that I was familiar with. I thought it would be cool to take a hometown legend, in this case the legend of the Bragg Road Ghost Light, and make up my own explanation as to what the Light is. It was always just an interesting story to me and I was skeptical about it existing as more than just debunked headlights or swamp gas. Then it was about a year after I started writing the book, that I had my own experience with the Light, while on a drive down the road with my family. It was something I can’t explain and something I’ll never forget.

  1. What are some of your favorite spooky books?

Well, while my book doesn’t have any vampires, I usually tend to lean toward books about or that include them and funny enough, they aren’t that scary. I love The Mortal Instruments, The Morganville Vampires, and The Vampire Academy series just to name a few. The scariest book I’ve ever read was Pet Sematary by Stephen King. That really creeped me out.

  1. Did you do any research for this story?

Since my story is written about a real local ghost road legend, I did do research on the road and the theories. I then took a lot of those and molded them into my own story, weaving little threads of them throughout, but taking creative liberties with them as well. All of the legends and historical events spoken of are real, but not all took place directly where I wrote them to. When world building I had to simplify things a bit. There are little nods to my hometown throughout, such as places that inspired me, but only someone from my hometown would probably understand them. That was fun to do.

  1. What are some of your favorite paranormal films/tv shows?

I love paranormal TV. I love anything that tells me about history and legends and I also love TV series like The Originals, Vampire Diaries, and Bates Motel. As far as movies, I love all kinds but I have a deep love for classics and old Hitchcock and horror films. Arsenic and Old Lace is one of my favorites because it deals with the macabre serial killing aunts, but does so with humor and I love Cary Grant. I also love psychological thrillers.

  1. Will this be a series? If so how many parts?

Yes, this will be a series of five books. I’m very excited about it!

  1. How do you feel about love triangles?

I love them! I love seeing one done in a fresh way with fresh dynamics. There is a rather strange one in mine and there will be more of that in the books to come.

  1. Tell me a little about your book, something that is NOT in the general synopsis?

Lily’s new friends Owen and Hunter are brothers. They live with their Granny and are the only other people living out on the road with Lily and Talon and their parents. Owen has feelings for Lily that no one can understand. They learn something really interesting about each other and it makes things much more confusing for poor Owen.

  1. If you could describe The Legend of the Light Keeper in 3 sentences what would they be?

Lily is a not-so-normal girl seeking normalcy who learns that her new home holds deep secrets of her powers and lineage. She’s thrust into a new living arrangement and quickly falls for her soon-to-be step-brother. Strange things start to happen and all comes together when she’s given an old diary for her birthday that leads her to her purpose and her new power.

  1. What do you want the reader to take away from this story?

This story is an introduction to my series. I really want the reader to get a good feel for the characters, understand their situations, and relate to them. This is a series about learning to embrace your inner gifts. Like Lily, we all have some special gift inside of us whether it’s that one is really good at a hobby, loves to read, or is empathetic to others. I want my readers to realize that it is okay to be themselves and let their inner gifts shine. Once we learn to embrace our talents and gifts and what makes us unique, that is when we really begin to shine and that’s when great things happen. The Light exists and it’s in us all.

Thank you so much for this opportunity. ~Kelly cooltext1889171582 copy3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review and in participation with this tour.

The Legend of the Light Keeper is a chilly tale of mystery, murder, and heartbreak but it is also one of self-discovery, faith, and hope. Combining the spooky aura of legend and real life tragedy, The Legend of the Light Keeper will have you hanging on to every clue, hoping to solve the dizzying puzzle of the Light and its connection to Lily.

PROS:

  • The Legend of the Light Keeper centers on the ghost stories and speculation about the Light on Ghost Road in Bragg, Texas. Based on a series of eye-witness encounters with this paranormal phenomenon and the history of Conquistadors, oil, and railroad greed, the story is all the more haunting because it is based in fact and you can read more about the legends with a quick internet search.
  • The history of the Light and Bragg, Texas is rich and intoxicating. There are so many secrets and uncertainties that it consumes you and it’s easy to get lost in the strength of the atmosphere. Lily’s heritage is as shadowed as her abilities but as the truth outs, everything is connected in a seamless, wonderfully clever way. The diary, the forbidden romance and intrigue of the past add a bit of daring and drama that ups the adrenaline propelling the story forward.
  • Lily lost everything in the hurricane but she is resilient, thoughtful and strong. Lily thinks of others before herself, is constantly concerned about their welfare and takes serious risks. Unafraid to get dirty and hang with the boys, Lily is adventurous and willing to try anything whether it be mudding or camping out in the woods with poisonous snakes and creepy neighbors. Lily is conflicted about her past. She’s terrified. She doesn’t know what’s going on with the Shadows and the Light but one thing she does have is faith. Lily recognizes the Light as truth, answers to riddles of the past, and hope. Lily can see what others do not and her beliefs are unshakable. Lily gets scared, she crumbles, she cries but that makes her all the more real and compelling in her vulnerability.
  • Talon is charming, helpful, warm, and the rock Lily needs to get through the mess the Light has brought into her life. His past is full of regrets and secrets that permeate the plot, lurking beneath the surface. Talon is playful, constantly teasing Lily one moment and chasing away her fears in the next. He accepts her wholeheartedly and becomes a friend that Lily can count on.
  • Together, Lily and Talon have an easy, magnetic connection. They flow together. The romance is more casual than longing looks and heated touches. It’s natural, almost like fate. It feels inevitable, potent and tethered to the Light.
  • Secondary characters are memorable, lively and have unique qualities that each compliment and build the story. Owen and Hunter are double trouble. Hilarious, full of boyish pranks and inexhaustible energy, they bring a light cheerfulness to the gloom and doom of the Light and Lily’s Shadow attacks.

CONS:

  • There are two main story arcs, that of the mystery shrouding the Light and the blossoming love between Talon and Lily. So much focus was put on building and maintaining the chemistry between these characters that the Light felt like it took a backseat to their romance. As the story progressed, concentration on the Light and the ghostly aspects increased but Lily’s preoccupation with Talon’s feelings towards her was a distraction.
  • Lily’s ability to see Shadows was introduced with little explanation other than she’s always seen them. Counterbalanced with her power to see loved ones’ spirits on the brink of death, while there were poignant, beautiful scenes of loss and love, there were hardly any background stories of Lily’s battle with the Shadows. A clearer picture of Lily’s history with the Shadows, how they interacted with her, how they altered and shaped her life might have laid the foundation for Lily’s crippling fear of the dark. Instead, Lily’s panic attacks feel like overreaction for a good part of the story.
  • It was farfetched that everyone simply believed Lily’s stories. The woman in the Light, the Shadows, her insistence that her nightmares were horrifying depictions of the past were all accepted with wide eyes and a promise to hunt for the truth. Lily had just met all of these people, Talon, Owen, Hunter, Granny; they had no basis to trust her especially on something so subjective as ghosts and dangers in the dark.

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Kelly Pic Kelly Hall was born and raised in Southeast Texas, and lives in a small town just a stone’s throw from the ghost road where her Light Keeper series is based. When she’s not busy writing, or spending time with her husband and two sons, this self-proclaimed creative junkie dabbles in many different forms of art, including cake decorating and mixed media.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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This tour was organized by Good Tales Book Tours.

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Blog Tour & Review: Whisper-Heather Hildenbrand

Whisper by Heather Hildenbrand

New Adult Paranormal Fantasy

Goodreads/Amazon/Barnes & Noble

The Cherokee believe when a person dies, their soul is reborn. Life is repeated. An endless cycle of lessons to be learned, love to be found, destiny to be fulfilled. For the past six months, in every flower, every bird, I’ve imagined my parents, relieved of their human forms.

Now, after five months at the Skye View Wellness Center, it was summer. A time for parties and friends, but that’s the last thing I want to do. So when my best friend Erin convinces me to attend a bonfire at Eagle Point, I can’t handle the crowd full of sympathetic stares or drunken class clowns who would use my tragedy as a way into my heart – or my pants. The solitude of the woods offers an escape, until I stumble upon a boy, unconscious and bleeding, his pockets stuffed not with identification but with poetry illustrating the beauty of dying. I’ve seen enough death. I will not leave this boy’s side.

Even after he wakes, when the only thing he can remember are visions of events that haven’t happened yet…

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 4/5 Stars

PROS:

  • There’s something about Dylan and Whisper that’s both poetic and whimsical. Their chemistry transcends time and space and blossoms into this perfect love. It’s beautiful, breathtaking and enough to make you believe in the power of true love. Dylan and Whisper are stubborn, they fight, they tease each other but underneath everything is fierce devotion and the sense that their feelings run so much deeper and span so much longer than just this time period. Their love is the sort of epic that inspires and grants hope. I adored how Dylan and Whisper were together, the heat between them was undeniable but the easy, understanding way they interacted and could just be with each other in silence was so much more. 
  • The Cherokee legends and lifestyle, the rituals, association with animals and their beliefs were simultaneously a history lesson and teleportation into another life. Everything was so detailed and aptly described that the connection between the characters and Cherokee magic was not only believable but seemed natural. The small stories were snapshots into the culture and it was so cool how everything was interconnected and linked to the cyclical function of reincarnation/life.
  • There were several surprises, the kind that leave you mouth agape wondering how you could have possibly missed something that big.
  • Whisper’s bond with the animals is incredibly endearing. The way her need to save parallels her loss is heartbreaking and displays such poignant compassion. Dolly is hilarious, she has such fabulous attitude even if she has no lines. 
  • Dylan is sexy, mysterious, and compelling. The way he ceaselessly researches and endeavours to protect Whisper is enough to wi book boyfriend status. He doesn’t have many flirty lines but when they’re there, it’s scorching hot. The romantic scenes between Whisper and Dylan are the kind you read over and over again. 🙂 
  • Whisper is broken but not beaten. It’s really enriching just experiencing Whisper’s thoughts and emotions as she tries to find herself again after the devastating loss she’s suffered and to have a curse and everything else thrown in with that it’s astonishing she didn’t crack under the stress. Whisper has worked so hard to overcome her grief, to regain her chance at living and there’s nothing more inspirational that a woman who has faced the absolute worst and grown stronger from it, clinging to hope and not letting defeat rule her. 

CONS:

  • Some sections were a little slow and seemed to drag.
  • Something that really irked my was how Whisper dealt with assault. At first, it seemed like her reactions were perfect, she fought, she escaped, she did everything in her power to save herself from terrible situations that will make your skin crawl, however, when she is actually physically injured, she does nothing and had doubts. I wanted to strangle her. It just seemed like her logic was skewed.
  • Erin was an inbetween character, as were a few of the secondary characters. They have cameo appearances and then disappear. While Erin was there for Whisper when she needed her most, there’s not enough of her to form a strong opinion for like or dislike. 

 

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The gold dress was both beautiful and evil all at once.

I stood in front of the mirror for twenty minutes, frowning until my face hurt and contemplating how Erin would react if I showed up to my party wearing jeans and a sweatshirt instead.

My reflection reminded me of the vision, and even though Dylan said it wasn’t this exact dress, it felt close enough—the shimmery, silky material that felt like water in my hands, the way it pooled at my feet even with my strappy heels. It was as if the dress itself held the ability to make that vision a reality simply by wearing it. But I had nothing else.

I told myself it was my own fears reflecting back. Fancy fabric couldn’t manifest a destiny any more than a person could fight it. But, although the sun still blazed with late afternoon heat, the day felt ominous. Or maybe it was me.

Taregan hadn’t made a play—hell, he hadn’t made a peep—since our parking lot encounter. That’d been days ago. I wanted to find out whether his blood ritual had worked, but Dylan refused to contact him. For any reason. Every time I brought it up, his fury worked its way into his tense jaw and then his pursed lips and I gave up. The warrior wouldn’t budge.

Time, on the other hand, only moved forward. And now we were here, my birthday.

Dylan was in his room, supposedly showering, though I’d checked on him twice already, and he’d been standing in the middle of his room, eyes glued to another history book he’d brought up from the stacks. A last-minute loophole search. So far, nothing.

I strained my ears and thought I heard the sound of water running. I’d give him ten more minutes and then check again.

Thinking of Dylan, picturing his face, was enough to make me tremble. And it had nothing to do with Taregan or curses or anything beyond my own body’s lust thermometer. I locked my knees against the weakness that threatened as I thought back to the other night in the library. Hands and mouths exploring, asking, taking. There had been a moment, though brief, where nerves had threatened to shut me down. But then Dylan had removed his clothes and the way he looked in the soft light of the fire, his broad chest and satin shoulders, had taken my breath away. And given me a confidence only our kind of unerring love could. After that, it had been …

Was there a word for something that amazing?

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Author of Across the Galaxy, Whisper, and the Dirty Blood series. I write, read, and fuss at my kids. Oh, and I do laundry, lots of laundry. I’m pretty good at it, too. Sometimes I even read WHILE doing laundry – and fussing at my kids. I’m a multi-tasker.

For more information on my books, release dates, or just general stalker material, um, I mean FAN material, visit my website. www.heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com. I love hearing from readers!

Likes and dislikes? I love vintage tees, hate socks with sandals, and if my house was on fire the one thing I’d grab is my Amazon Fire TV! (oh yeah, I’m a fan of puns.)

Website / Facebook / Twitter

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Review: Reveal-Brina Courtney

3.5/5 Stars

Reveal (Cryptid Tales, #1)-Brina Courtney

***I received this e-book in exchange for an honest review from Mark My Words Publicity

Reveal

Chenoa walks in holding the most adorable little gray kitten. “Umm, is that?” Please, God, don’t give me a local resident as a gift, it’s weird and super creepy.

***

I love kissing him. He tastes like coffee all the time, probably because he drinks it just about as much as me.

I wish my boyfriend would taste like coffee all the time! Jealous. And I just realized how awkward it is that I admitted that. Moving on. Reveal is the kind of book that immediately hooks you. From the intriguing notion of genetic splicing to the creepy ghost communications, there’s just the right amount of the unknown to keep you guessing and speeding through the pages eager to know more.

Plot: Shay is far from your average girl. She spends her weekdays leaving her teammates in the dust on the track, working at an antique store and hanging out at the local college coffee shop. During her down time, she likes to moon over her favorite hot college guy while sipping on strong coffee, gossiping with her best friend, and helping out the occasional ghost. Since her dad’s disappearance years ago, life has been weird for Shay. She found out her best friend is really a dead boy who is mysteriously drawn to her, that ghosts have a lot of favors to ask, oh, and that life can change in an instant. When Shay offers to help a ghost girl reunite with her father, she learns an alarming truth about herself that she can’t quite believe. In a twist of fate, all is revealed and with the help of her ghostly best friend and Hugh (coffee shop boy), Shay uncovers her father’s dangerous research, the truth about her heritage, and the sinister forces that are out to destroy her to keep a centuries old prophecy from coming true.

Shay could be the key to ending a war that humans don’t know exist. Of a race of beings that aren’t real, or are they?

Shay Tafford’s childhood has been fatherless, filled instead with memories of speaking to the dead. She is forced to hide her unique ability from those living around her. That’s why it’s been comforting to have Jeremy, a child ghost, as her confidante. But recently he’s been absent, perhaps lost as her father is. When Shay meets Hugh, the guy she’s had a crush on for weeks, and finds he can speak to ghosts too she’s just starting to find a normalcy in her life.
But as Hugh reveals the truth to Shay, about who she really is and about what it is she can do, he erases all chances she had at a normal existence. Turns out talking to ghosts is just scratching the surface of her genetically engineered gifts. Shay learns she may be part of an age old prophecy that could save the entire race of cryptids. But can she?

– via Goodreads

PROS: 

  • The ghost/spirit world is elaborately described with numerous rules and regulations. The role of the ghosts, especially the place of children in the afterlife is unique and their staggering power makes them a force to be reckoned with. Each of their stories are filled with sadness, yearning, and a mischievousness that makes them far from trustworthy and just a little scary, in that creepy horror film way.
  • The Native American folklore mixed with genetics makes for a really interesting, mystical read. The science fiction-esque journey into what a cryptid is, how they’re created, and the price of knowledge is an important theme that is fringed with danger and murderous intent. The legends of the tribe, the deeply rooted history in shape shifting, prophecy, and the epic battle of good vs. evil is rich, artistic and feels like a doorway into a cozy, colorful community ripe with magic and love.
  • Shay is funny. Her internal dialogue is vibrant and fused with light and laughter. Her sarcasm, the glowing way she sees Hugh, and the love she feels for her family and friends is a warm embrace that lets you get to know and like her. Shay is plagued with questions about her past, conflicted about who she’s expected to be and who she wants to be, and confused by the love she feels for Hugh. She’s real, she’s honest, and fights til the finish, always giving her all.
  • Hugh. Hugh is that infuriatingly good looking yet in between character. He’s flirty but ony just so, pushy but only on occasion, and his attraction to Shay is a bit of a puzzle. It’s a gradual, budding attraction that blossoms (way fast) into something more.

CONS: 

  • Many of the secondary characters were fleeting and there wasn’t enough to form a strong opinion of them.
  • This book was so short. It could have used at least 50 more pages so that the explanations and all the mythology and history was spread out. Instead it’s a slightly overwhelming stream of information that loses its majestic quality because there’s a massive amount at one time. That being said, the mythology itself was wonderfully creative and filled with folkloric magic.
  • The climax was lacking tension and action. It was almost two easy and undermined the vile, evil personality and strength of the antagonist.

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Pleasant reading,

-BB

Review: The Raven Boys- Maggie Stiefvater

3/5 Stars

The Raven Boys(The Raven Cycle, #1)- Maggie Stiefvater

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“Fate,” Blue replied, glowering at her mother, “is a very weighty word to throw around before breakfast.”

She recognized the strange happiness that came from loving something without knowing why you did, that strange happiness that was sometimes so big that it felt like sadness. It was the way she felt when she looked at the stars.

“It’s irrelevant. It’s not growing. I’m doomed to be a man-child.”
“If you keep saying things like ‘man-child,’ we’re done,” Ronan said. “Hey, man. Don’t let it get you down. Once your balls drop, that beard’ll come in great. Like a fucking rug. You eat soup, it’ll filter out the potatoes. Terrier style. Do you have hair on your legs? I’ve never noticed.”

Plot:
Blue Sargent is used to paranormal activity. Living with a family of psychics, strange is the new normal. The only problem is that Blue didn’t inherit psychic powers, instead she is an energy magnifier, boosting otherworldly influences. For as long as she can remember Blue has been weighed down by a powerful premonition that claimed one day Blue’s kiss would kill her true love. From that day on Blue had avoided relationships at all cost and tried to live her life as if nothing was hanging over her head. Like every year on St.Mark’s Day, Blue goes to watch the corpse road but this time fate interceded. Typically Blue can’t see spirits and simply ups their presence so that her mother can communicate with them, however, this time Blue is the only one who can see the dejected boy faltering down the spirit road. Blue knows immediately that her seeing this boy is wrong, that something is starting that is bigger than she is. When Blue asks her mother’s psychic friend why she was able to see the boy she is told that there are only two reasons, that he is her true love or she will be responsible for his death. Blue feels like she owes it to the boy to warn him of his impending death and when he makes an appointment for a psychic reading at her house, she is even more convinced that their meeting is destined. Gansey is one of the Raven Boys and the boy Blue saw on St. Mark’s Day. The Raven Boys are the notoriously snobby “bastards” that shamelessly flirt with girls and flaunt their money as if they own the world. They attend the pre-Ivy Aglionby private school and have too much money, and conceit to know what to do with. Gansey is flocked by his group of Raven Boys, Ronan, an Irish bad boy with far too much anger and sarcasm, Adam, a trailer park kid whose father is abusive and who works three jobs to attend Aglionby, and Noah, a smudgy enigma of a boy with more mystery than truth. Since he was 7 and had a near fatal run in with a swarm of hornets, Gansey has had one goal, to find the sleeping Welsh King who lies hidden on a ley line. As he lay dying, words were whispered into his ear about the Welsh King granting him a wish. Teamed up with Gansey, and the other Raven Boys, Blue embarks on a quest to save Gansey from certain death, to find the Welsh King, and to discover power within herself.

PROS:

  • Ronan is jaded, violent, rude, and an all around ass but is perhaps the most developed, multilayered character in the book. His emotions are complex and buried beneath all the bravado is a hurt little boy just trying to overcome the loss of his father.
  • The character traits are written in such a simple, matter of fact way that they provide clear insight into their foundation, it’s almost poetic.
  • Blue is just the average girl. She is awkward and unsure when it comes to interacting with boys, she is confused about her feelings, but what is admirable about her is that she has such spunk. She speaks her mind and is unafraid to put down the condescending airs of the Raven Boys, she is her own person; she makes her own clothes, adorning them with feathers and lace, and despite all her intentions of standing out, is extremely sensible. Blue is an amalgamation of conflicting emotions, and wavering ideas of herself. She is the quintessential teen girl.
  • The ley lines, how they work, and their connection with spirits, and magic was different in a very pleasant way. Typically fey would be present in connection with they pocketed energy fields, that fact that they weren’t was a welcome surprise.

CONS:

  • Some dialogue like in the quoted section above was overly vulgar and came off as awkward and mildly repulsive.
  • While the idea of the story, rich with Welsh folklore, spirits, and ritual was really an interesting concept it was presented in a way that it almost seemed common place and boring. General suspense and magic were missing when they should have been present in abundance.
  • Some plot points were fragmented and barely pieced together, almost as if they were thrown in randomly like oh hey btw this happened. This left the plot feeling jumbled and a little confused.
  • Most of the minor characters are unlikable and not present. You get fleeting glimpses into their personalities and then they are gone, leaving the impression that they are incomplete.

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lil

-BB