A Soul Unsung

I am a book blogger/reviewer for A Soul Unsung. I enjoy reading, writing, blogging, and catching up with my latest tv shows. I'm honest, loyal, and caring. I will do anything for my friends & family.

Welcome to Book Gossip for the Soul.

Wrapped

Wrapped - Jennifer Bradbury I have to admit that I was excited to read this book, from the moment I received my advanced copy through Netgalley. It's true that I'm not necessarily the biggest fan of romance novels, but I am a huge history buff and this book provided a wonderful balance of both, and a pretty cover to wrap it all up in. I love how plucky, intelligent, and daring the main character of the novel is. Agnes is simply a marvelous character and one of my favorite things about her, is the fact that she craves knowledge; she takes it upon herself to appreciate history, and to learn several different languages despite the social constraints that her mother constantly foists upon her. She possesses such a hopeful quality about her and knows there's more to life than being the belle of the ball or in this case debutante, parties, and getting married to a suitable suitor when the time comes. She has this thirst for adventure, this daring quality about her that drives her to question, to seek out the mystery, and solve it as best she can. It was amazing to watch her risk her own life, for the good of her country. It was also good to see her rise above the limits that certain social standards dictates for a girl as privileged as she and to still see something worth falling in love with, in terms of Caedmon. I really enjoyed Caedmon quite a bit and I was happy to see how well developed that he and the other characters were, as well. For once, it seemed like the nice guy would actually win out and get the girl and the social status and career of a lifetime. It was quite enjoyable to see Jennifer Bradbury create such a time-period piece of fiction and modernize it in such a way that you could identify easily with the main character, who was as forward thinking and evolved as Agnes was. It was quite fascinating and satisfying to also see how she was able to weave the basic knowledge and concept of Egyptology and the mystery of Mummy curses into the story and create a strong plot that was very well developed and structured in such a way that it kept you wanting to turn the pages in an effort to not only learn more, but to find out what was going to happen next, who the villain was ultimately going to end up being. It is very action packed and fast paced, which is also a good thing as well and the romance slid perfectly into place. This book is a must read novel, truly. If you like mysteries and value the importance of history itself, all coupled with a romance that's as sweet as this one was - then you will definitely enjoy reading this book. You cannot go wrong with such a brave, intelligent, savvy heroine such as Agnes or the social constraints and attitudes of British Imperialism either. I assure it is not just another book with a pretty girl in an equally pretty dress on the cover; it is so much more than that. It is simply a solid four stars, I would even wager to say a possible five and I don't hand those out that often or easily either.

The Secret Life of Damian Spinelli

The Secret Life of Damian Spinelli: As Told To Diane Miller - Carolyn Hennesy, Diane Miller If you enjoy the daytime soap opera General Hospital, then you will for sure enjoy this book. It is hilarious, it is over-the-top, super geektastic as only one Damien Spinelli can be. The stories are embellished a great deal, the character's are engaging and likeable even when they're not trying to be, and Diane Miller is one hell of an amazing attorney. I have loved Spinelli from the moment he graced my screen in 2006 and I continue to still love him today, all of his techo-babble, his serious geek status...he is simply put, a rockstar in his own way. Not to mention, I love the fact that he would move heaven and hell to the point of risking his own life to save the people that he cares about the most. That is who Spinelli is and that is how he's won the hearts of so many. Watching him fall in love and embark on a relationship with Maxie, was truly an honor. The way he's so undeniably loyal to Jason "Stone Cold" and is such a wonderful endearing albiet sometimes annoying friend to Sam, and yes even his love for the Valkryie whom I personally detest; encompasses all of the reasons for which I love him. What the actors brings to these two characters, Spinelli and Diane Miller every day, is truly spectacularly phenomenal. Run, do not walk, to your nearest book store and get your own copy of this book and devour it in one sitting like I did. You will not be disappointed. You will laugh all of the way through it, I did.

Wherever You Go

Wherever You Go - Heather Davis I connected with this novel almost immediately, when I started reading. I felt such overwhelming sadness and empathy for Holly and the situation that she was dealing with. It wasn't bad enough that she'd survived a car accident that killed her boyfriend, but now she finds herself thrown head-long into not only taking care of her nine year old sister Lena, but also looking after her grandfather who has come to live with them in their small cramped apartment and is dealing with Alzheimer’s. I have personal experience and knowledge in what it's like to watch someone you care a great deal about deteriorate before your eyes, how helpless you feel, because there's really nothing that you can do for them except try and be as supportive as you can be. So, on that note, Holly's pain and frustration at having to deal with that instead of getting to be a normal teenager and missing out on other things kids her age were getting to do, was easily understandable. The love story told was very sweet and I found myself liking Jason almost immediately. I couldn't help but root for Jason and Holly to get together, because I think that they were always sort of meant to be in a way. It was sweet the way Jason wanted to help Holly make sure that Aldo got to experience most of the things on his list, that he didn't want to forget. Plus, I like that Jason had always had some sort of feelings for her all along, and it wasn't just because now that Rob was gone, he was finally going for his chance. He really cared about Holly and he wanted to see her happy. Rob, on the other hand, I felt extremely sad for him and how invisible he must have felt in the last weeks before his death. I like that he was able to realize that even when you don't think it's there, love is still very much all around you. It was such a big revelation and such a sad one, at the same time, because you knew that he wouldn't get to experience the things that Holly and everyone else had in store for them in the future, because his future had been cut short due to his recklessness and the deep ingrained sadness from his depression that caused his suicide. Still though, it was nice to see him realize that maybe through helping other's move on and learn to live and possibly love again - to be happy, that he was able to let go and move on himself. The friendship that developed between Rob and Aldo, I think, turned out to be one of my favorite aspects of the books. It was sweet and I liked how Rob wanted to help Aldo get his daughter to actually "see" him, when she looked at him even if it hurt a great deal. It meant something to him, for her to know that he was still there even if he was barely hanging on. Those two helped each other quite a bit and it was endearing to read. Holly has incredible amounts of strength that I sometimes wish I had possessed when I was going through a similar experience myself. How she managed to keep it all together, without completely losing is very admirable, given what she was having to deal and the level of stress it had to have had on her. It was sad to see her at odds with her mother so much and pretty much full-filling a larger portion of the role that her mother should have been playing, then to see them argue about whether or not she was in charge or not in charge. There was a moment, when I really wanted her mother to realize just how much she weight she was putting on her daughter's shoulders and realize, that maybe she needed to bear a little bit more of the weight and try to be a bit more understanding of Holly or supportive than she was at times instead of expecting so much. Lena was adorable and I loved her relationship with Holly, and how she had such an endless supply of bubbly energy, which I feel like all nine year olds should have. Her youth was so bright and alive, despite the hardships that her family was facing and through it all she managed to keep her spirits alive. All in all, I truly enjoyed this book a great deal and would definitely read it again.

Between Here and Forever

Between Here and Forever - Elizabeth Scott Between Here And Forever is a book that I really enjoyed reading. The minute that I began reading this novel, I became highly engrossed in it and did not want to put it down. It wasn't quite exactly the story I was expecting it to turn out to be, but it was also a very welcomed and nice surprise that was able to lend a little more substance to the novel. In many ways, I feel like there are two stories being told her, and a message that I feel many young adults and people in general need to be reminded of, as well. Here's what I mean, story 1 is Abby, story 2 is discovering Tess, and the end result is learning that you are beautiful just as you are while confronting your fears and working through them, without resigning yourself to living in someone else's shadow because you feel as if you'll never been good enough. Sometimes I've often wondered, just how good is good enough? The author did a very good job of painting such a painfully insecure but very relatable protagonist, Abby, who feels like she has constanstly had to live within her sister's shadow for most of her life. So, she decides that she has to do something that will cause Tess to wake up, so that she won't have to continue existing in that shadow, but her plan yeilds a much different outcome than she had expected. Who says different can't be a good thing? Enter Eli, who comes along with his own set of issues and complications, too. He's able to show Abby that she's beautiful just as she is, without having to aspire to be like anyone else. She's the one that he notices the whole entire time that they spend visiting Tess, putting Abby's plan into motion. She's the one that he wants, while she tries to convince herself that he's for Tess. She's doing this for Tess. It's all for Tess. Abby is afraid and feels invisible a good portion of the time, when compared to Tess. Yet, Tess's own life possesses secrets and entanglements that even Abby had no idea existed, until she started uncovering them, becoming best friend's with her sister's ex-best friend Claire, amongst other things. There are awful truths, hardships to face, challenges in life ahead of Abby, and a life that no one ever (least of all Tess) ever expected for herself. What Elizabeth Scott does with this novel, is make you feel something, whether you're frustrated with Abby for feeling sorry for herself, whether your saddened at the predicament that Tess winds up in, or your cheering the romance between Abby and Eli - this novel is going to be something that makes you feel. Elizabeth Scott's unique writing style, coupled with a novel chalked full of wonderful center piece characters and secondary character's to support them, is very well worth the read for any contemporary young adult fiction fan or anyone in general. Her stories are genuinely relatable and her character's possess certain qualities, that make them very likable in many ways. I was quite please with this book and would definitely recommend it to anyone else who not only enjoys contemporary young adult fiction, but also enjoys the likes of other fellow authors such as Sarah Dessen, Ann Brashares, Deb Caletti, etc.

He's So Not Worth It (He's So/She's So Trilogy (Quality))

He's So Not Worth It - Kieran Scott He's So Not Worth It is the second book in Kieran Scott's contemporary series She's So Dead To Us. I ended up starting this series sort of backwards, because I read an E-ARC of He's So Not Worth It that I mananged to snag from S&S Galley Grab last month before I realized it was the second book. I still read it anyway and really enjoyed it. It was the perfect light fun read that I needed. Even though I have still yet to read the first novel (which, I now own a copy of and will be reading at some point over the summer) I was able to follow along with the story and figure out who the character's where in relation to one another and whether or not they were friends, frenemies, or a couple. I enjoyed Annie and her field journals the most, I think. They had a very Veronica-esque (Mars that is) feeling to them, plus it was fun seeing her all super-sleuthing it up like she was studying the Cresties as if it was all some huge social project or something. To her, it probably was. Observe A in their natural habitat, but what happens to B when C slips them a little something something that's not so natural? Tune in next time...it was hilarious. Plus, she was just a really good friend to Ally, even though Ally said some pretty horrible things to her out on the beach that one night. Speaking of Ally, I was frustrated with her but I also sort of felt a small bit of sympathy for as well. I mean, I can understand acting out a little bit when you're dealing with the kind of crap that she's having to deal with and being publically humiliated like that by people who are supposed to be your friends, but to just spiral down like that and act like a bitca on an one or two occassions just isn't cool at all. Overall, though, in the end I'm kind of glad that she ended up with Jake even though I felt like that was a bit too happy ending-ish for me. I mean, it was a little too easy after the summer that they'd both had and I kind of wish that Jake would have just been like, look let's take it slow, build on our friendship, and then just go from there. But, I suppose I can be okay with it, since I was essentially rooting for the two of them the whole entire book and loved that he just sort of went on a break from his job, drove down to the shore, and like risked house arrest just for her. So, all in all, pretty fun book. Definitely read it, it gets four stars from me of course. Here's to hoping the first book is as good as the second.

The Day Before

The Day Before - Lisa Schroeder I read this novel a few weeks ago and I came away from the reading experience with two things, 1.) it was my first time to read a novel in verse and 2.) I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. The words and imagery just seemed to flow so smoothly and effortlessly, it was quite beautiful. Even though the insta-love Amber had for Cade had me scratching my head, becuase she'd only known him for pretty much all of one day, there was a tenderness that it seemed to possess that gave it a very realistic feel. There was a vulerability in The Day Before that resonated with me, it was a very easy read, as I said before the words just seemed to float easily and gracefully from one page to the next, the prose was well developed, and it was easy to feel with the characters instead of just for them. The novel possessed a means of escapism, for both Amber and Cade, which I can understand and relate to in a sense. The fear of one life being lost and another one being uprooted against her wishes, left me longing for them to find some semblance of peace and happiness, even if for just one day. It made me want the happy ending. All in all, I really did enjoy this book and I find that I can easily give it four stars without any qualms. Note: I received this book through a Simon&Schuster Galley Grab.

Spellbound (Harlequin Teen)

Spellbound - Cara Lynn Shultz I was excited about this book from the moment I first heard about it. Hi, totally drawn to just about anything of the paranormal and mystical spellbound variety, add in a bit of an historical feel to it and you've definitely got my interest piqued. There's a forbidden sense of wonder in something dark and mysterious, lush and exciting, that gets my blood pulsing accompanied with a built in gravitational force pulling me to it. Spellbound, was exciting, engaging, and entertaining from the moment I started reading. Although, I had a few qualms about how the paranormal element would fit in with the flow of the story being told, I still found myself very enthralled with the story itself and didn't mind the subtle underlying hints of paranormal elements until it really came to the forefront towards the end of the novel and left the reader (me gasping for) wanting more. I found myself searching for hidden pages, long after the last one had been turned. I was curious, I admit, and I wanted to see what was going to happen next. I am anxiously and eagerly awaiting the next book in the series, as I have a feeling that it's going to be just as entertaining and exciting as this one was, if not more-so. This novel combines so many elements that make it a wonderful book, like well developed strong characters that are relatable, very likeable, and have unique qualities about them that set them apart from others. There is also a great romance that will leave the reader just as just as spellbound as the novel reads itself. For Emma and Brendan, it seems as if they are doomed even before they really begin and there seemed to be this back and forth "can we be together ;; no, we can't really" dilemma going on between them. Despite that, I was very pleased with how well Shultz was able to depict them in such a realistic way. There wasn't an epic all encompassing insta-love vibe present in the novel at all. It was just more of a natural gradual attraction on both parts, that turned out to be mutal and very realistically portrayed. All of their actions, how they related to one another, the way they acted when they were in and outside of school grounds, and in or out around social scenes were very believable. It was refreshing to see this, as there have been a number of YA novels where insta-love has happened and the reader is expected to just go along with it. The secondary character's seemed to possess their very own special brand of flavor, which contributed to their unique attributes and gave them a vast array of characteristics. Angelique and Cisco were so much fun and Ashley (Emma's cousin) was pretty much adorable and an amazing support system for Emma as well, after everything that she'd been through and the circumstances that brought her to NYC and Vince A. I do wish we could have gotten to know Kristen a little better, because I wanted to believe there's more to her than just the fact that she hates Emma and she's the resident mean girl. I have a way of loving complicated characters like her, who are mean and I don't want to believe she's that way just for the sake of being mean. I have really come to adore books that deal with soulmate(s), past lives, and reincarnation if handled properly and written in such a way that it all comes together seamlessly and effortless and this novel did that and so much more. It intricately wove together an ancient family curse through witchcraft, mythology, and the broken heart of a man who loved one woman so much that he would do anything for a chance to spend happiness with her. Over-all, I truly enjoyed the hint of historical attributes combined with the paranormal, all coming together to form a novel that I will want to read and again and again and again. It's not hard at all for me to give this a full five stars. There wasn't anything that I didn't enjoy about this book or the author. {Small Note: This book was received as an E-ARC through Harlequin Teen viaNetgalley, in exchange for an honest review which I have provided. No money exchanged hands, I review books for fun because I love to read. I am not interested in monetary gain.}

Sometimes It Happens

Sometimes It Happens - Lauren Barnholdt Sometimes It Happens was one of my favorite books that I've read this year, because it was so real, relatable, and the character's were strong and very well developed. I think Barnholdt did a phenomenal job of tackling the cheating issue, while still keeping all the character's true to the story being told. It was also a very smart idea to flip between the summer before and the first day of school, so the reader could get a sense of what happened versus what's about to happen. Sometimes It Happens, was an easy book for me to read. Once I started, I just didn't want to stop until I was finished reading the last page. I'm not usually a fan of novels that involve cheating as a main plot, but the author made it almost incredibly hard not to want to see Hannah and Noah end up together. While, Hannah might have done a crappy thing by cheating with Noah behind Ava's back, I still very much enjoyed the character. She was highly intelligent, relatable, witty, and the perfect blend of sarcastic. It made me realize that we're all human and we're all capable of doing crappy things to one another, sometimes we do them because we mean them and sometimes we don't and it just happens. This novel does a really great job of illustrating the "sometimes we don't and it just happens," and because of that I can't really be too hard on Hannah all that much, because she did feel bad for what she'd done. Of course she did have her moments, where she was completely blind to some things. Noah proved to be a good friend to her, during the summer. He was able to pull Hannah out of her slump and manage to have a little bit of fun. I really liked him, because he was such a nice guy and it was very easy to see how they developed a friendship that slowly, became something more - something very real and meaningful to them. But, it was hard too, because neither one of them really wanted to hurt Ava, even though they both knew in the long run that it would. So, they did their best to ignore the feelings they had until they just couldn't deny them or hold back any longer. I also found myself really enjoying the friendship that Hannah and Lacey cultivated over the summer, by bonding through similar experiences and making a pact with each other. It just felt more healthy and natural, than Hannah's and Ava's. That might be due to the fact, that we got to see a little more of Lacey and Hannah's friendship, rather than just being told through Hannah's point of view what her and Ava's friendship was like and how much it meant to Hannah. Lacey was a lovable hypochondriac breath of fresh air and one of the bright spots of this novel for me. She was so much fun and provided pitch perfect comedy that only enhanced the novel a great deal. I truly enjoyed her a great deal and it was easy to see how her reaction to finding out about Hannah and Noah was one of the most realistic, not because she didn't want Hannah to be happy, but because she was more or less hurt that Hannah wasn't honest with her about it when she had called her to leave school and come pick her up. In the end, I'm glad that these two were able to remain friends. I don't really want to say that I disliked Ava, but she wasn't my favorite either. At times, she could come off as a mean bitch, but that doesn't mean I think she deserved this either. Actually no one deserves this, I just hope that she was able to realize that neither Hannah nor Noah really wanted to hurt her. Barnholdt very cleverly wrote this novel in such a way, that the reader was either meant to know or question that each situation was different. When Sebastian cheated on Hannah at the beginning of the book, it was almost expected that the reader feel anger and frustration towards him. Yet, when Hannah and Noah cheated, it was a bit different as it was a situation that just sort of happened where no one was really intended to get hurt. It was as much of a surprise to the two of them as it was the reader. I really enjoyed reading this book, despite the fact that it involved cheating, which is usually something that I don't particularly care for. In this instance, though, it actually worked because I think it was unexpected in a sense. So, I have no problems recommending this book to anyone who enjoys the Contemps and giving it four stars, as well. I will definitely be picking up more Barnholdt novels in the future, as I enjoyed this one very much.

Hex Hall Book One

Hex Hall  - Rachel Hawkins Hex Hall is the perfect blend of humor, realism, pop culture references, snarky/sacrastic witty banter and excitement combined for a novel of this genre in the young adult market. There are a number of things to enjoy about this novel and Hawkins does not fail in delivering the goods. The character's were strong, funny, and real. Plus, there was a great mash-up of character's from shifters to faeries, to witches and warlocks, and vampires too. Sophie was pretty amazing and very well developed, she possessed this likable quality about her that made it easy to connect with her and relate to her situation and what she was going through, being sent to Hectate Hall (or Hex Hall as the other students often referred to it). The character's were average or about as average as one paranormal can be, not over-the-top dramatic, and very relatable in their interactions and exchanges with one another through out Hex Hall. You had your mean girls, which consisted of Elodie, Chaston, and Anna. Then you had your social outcasts, which pretty much cosnsisted of Jenna and of course Sophie the better part of the time, since she refused to join "The Trio's" coven. And, of course, round all that out with the mysterious bad boy himself, Archer, and you have the perfect set-up. Hawkins unique brand of humor in this novel, was very enjoyable. One of my favorite moments from the book happened towards the beginning when Sophie first arrives at Hectate Hall and she's attacked by a werewolf practically out of nowhere and the only thing she could think of to say was, "Bad dog." The world building and history of the Prodigium was very well developed and fleshed out. I enjoyed getting to know who Sophie really was, where she came from, the fear and danger that she had to watch out for (can true evil really be inherited?), as well as getting to know her great grandmother Alice and finding out how she came to be whom the reader's later discover she was. I am excited to start Demonglass as soon as I can, to find out what comes next for Sophie. The over-all pacing of Hex Hall was great, it moved along pretty quick and smoothly, keeping me glued to my seat in anticipation of what was going happen next and how it was going to end. There was mystery, intrigue, and a few twists thrown in for good measure. For any Buffy or House of Night fan, I would definitely recommend this book.

Solid

Solid - Shelley Workinger First, I have to say that I was thrilled when I was approached via email by Shelley Workinger and asked to read and review Solid here at my blog. It's always a very nice and humbling experience when an author contacts you and asks if you'd like to read and review their novel. She was delightful to talk to, in our email exchanges and I was very appreciative that she asked. From the moment I started reading this book, I was hooked. It was easy to read and I found myself wanting to devour more and more of it, until I was finished. It was interesting, plot-driven, and filled with many likeable characters. There was never a dull moment in this book, it got right to the point and stayed with it all the way up until the end where I was left wanting more, once I had finished it. The plot development was very well fleshed out in terms of illustrating the conflicts and resolutions within the novel and the pacing of it was pitch perfect creating an easy atmosphere for the reader to sink into. The witty banter and wonderfully crafted dialogue between the characters helped to provide such an entertaining and captivating reading experience. It was humorous in all of the right places, where comedic relief was somewhat needed as it delved further into the plot. As far as the scientific element goes, even though it was well illustrated I wish that it would have been fleshed out and developed just a bit more, but I think that will come with the second novel in the series Settling. For now, I'm pleased with the explanations and reasons given. It was easy to see how genetic mutations could very easily happen, in a world where technology advances has come so far, and there are people in the world that will always be there to abuse those further advantages in the field of sciences. Workinger, easily proved that to be the case in this novel, as unsettling as the thought may be. As for the characters themselves, they were very memorable and likeable all on their own, as I mentioned earlier. It's hard to pick just one as a favorite, when I really enjoyed them all for their own reasons. They were all unique and very well built, with a multitude of characteristics that made each of them stand out and be essential to the success of this novel and the plot itself. One aspect of the novel that I really did end up enjoying was the fact that the plot wasn't over-shadowed by a love story and there wasn't a love triangle looming in the midst. The connection between Clio and Jack was a natural progression that ended up having a sweet happy ending and it didn't get in the way of the plot, it actually worked well when paired with it. Plus, I enjoyed the lovable playful banter between Clio and Garret. Bliss ended up being a wonderful friend and confidant to Clio and even Miranda (as annoying as she could be sometimes) possessed a heart that cared enough to want the best for all of them. The dynamic these characters possessed lent itself quite well to the plot of the novel. Where one possessed a weakness, the other's made up for it in strength. There's something to be said for strength in numbers and I am always a fan of unlikely characters in books meeting randomly and falling easily into becoming friends in any novel, television show, or movie that I read or watch. It is no different with this novel and it was one of my favorite things about it. It showed that sometimes being different can be a good thing and in turn, you can benefit from it somehow. I think the novel did a wonderful job illustrating that point, with these core four. Workinger did an amazing job in building and constructing the back story for this series with a style and finesse all her own, as well as creating a world filled with quirky, bright, and memorable characters that I'm excited to see what they're next adventure will be. The emotion illustrated by the character's in this novel is brilliant and it leaves them staying with you, long after you've turned the last page. This is a world that I find myself wanting to delve further and further into, to get a sense of what other sinister plot to create a super-human army out of what would otherwise be normal teenagers is going to entail and what else is going on just beneath the surface. What else is in store for the reader? We shall see in, Settling. If you find yourself a fan of esteemed authors such as these, James Patterson, Veronica Roth, Rachel Ward, Beth Revis or even Kelley Armstrong, then I would definitely recommend this novel. I am easily giving Solid five stars (which, is something I rarely do), because I found myself genuinely enjoying every minute of reading this. Workinger has clearly proven that she can uniquely write a very well developed and highly entertaining novel, in my opinion.

Daimon: The Prequel to Half-Blood (Covenant)

Daimon (Covenant, #0.5) - Jennifer L. Armentrout Alex the Daimon Slayer. Cue the theme. Not one or two, but four Daimons all lurking in the dark shadows. Only instead of Mr. Pointy, she weilds a shiny Titanium Spade left and right, Daimons go poof! Ashes to little blue dust. Fade to black. Can't you see it? So, who are you casting? (Ignore the nerd who's obviously channeling some Buffy hardcore, right now!) "SHE SMELLS LIKE MOTHBALLS AND DEATH." (Chapter 1 ;; pp 03) Holy banana's! Best.first.line.ever. Daimon: The Prequel to Half-Blood is action packed, delivers the perfect sarcastic witty punch that you're craving and doesn't stop giving it to you. It hits you hard and keeps on delivering, pitch perfect, fast-paced, pages turning until the last one and you're left wanting more. There is so much gripping tension within these few pages of the novella, that it reads like it's straight out of the actual novel itself, Half-Blood. It is fantastic and Daimon: The Prequel To Half-Blood possesses a uniqueness that most other novella's doesn't, which is definitely a breath of fresh air in the pool of most young adult paranormal novels. Armentrout's ability to world build, provide an interesting and unique set-up for the Covenant, while combining mythology seemingly flawless is amazing. I want to seriously drink up the mythology and the idea of the demigods, the pure-blood's and their ability to control elementals, half-blood's, and the aether high that Daimon's get from sucking pure blood's dry. It is all so very interesting and causes me to have many questions like, why are the Daimons seeking Alex out when she's only half-blood and less than a snack pack for them? This whole world and the mythology. I want to know more about the Hematoi, their history and heritage, and just everything about their world and who they are, what they are, where they came from, and how they came about. Everything. I want to know all of this and I want to know how the Covenant came to be and how it works, all the ins and outs of it. It definitely compels the reader to want to find out more, by turning the pages. This little novella sets it all up perfectly and gives you just enough to want more, without over-doing it. Daimon: The Prequel To Half-Blood is funny in all of the right places that it should be. Oh man, is it hilarious. A few of my favorite lines are: "Normal girls don't want their boobs mauled either," (Chapter 1 ;; pp 05) "Was your mom a gardner? Because a face like yours belongs planted on the ground." (Chapter 2 ;; pp 12) "I was so going to kick a Convent Instructor in the face if I ever made it back there alive." (Chapter 11 ;; pp 53) --> Side Note: Who's channeling Buffy now?! ;) It's hard to think of another word other than amazing, because this little novella is only a glimpse of what's to come and you know that's going to be even more epic. Alex is half-blood, she knows who she is, now she just needs to know the why they were running all those years. She's witty, intelligent, and exudes super-strength like crazy. It just oozes out of her and yet she's so very likable, too. It's extremely hard not to feel with Alex, when she experiences loss in such a profoundly violent way, and has no other option but to seek out the very thing that her mother was trying to protect her from when they fled from the Covenant three years prior. It now becomes a question of why, as overwhelming greif gives way to anger and anger bubbles into red flashes and red flashes flare into a violent rage that has her running scared. Can we talk about the imagery for a minute, because that's another thing that I loved about this novella. In my mind, I could almost see, hear, taste, touch, and feel everything that was happening. Man, does Armentrout really know how to bring a scene to life with just a mere turn of the phrase. I could seriously see Aiden stepping through the flames, unscathed and completely in tact. Oh yes, this is a hot mysterious Daimon Hunter that I'm already crushing on and he's only yet, been introduced in the sneek peek for Half-Blood. With the strength of ten men and forty Daimons, will Alex be able to choose between love or doing what she must do in order to survive? That's a good question, can't wait to find out in Half-Blood. Daimon: The Prequel To Half-Blood totally rocks the five stars that it deserves. I'd give it six, if I had a sixth to give. Fans of Richelle Mead, Kelley Armstrong, and even Kim Harrison will definitely love this novella. This is F-R-E-E guys! So, you don't have A-N-Y excuse, just read the damn thing OKAY!

The Faerie Ring

The Faerie Ring - Kiki Hamilton The Faerie Ring is a fantasy set against the late 18oo's backdrop of Victorian London, involving a Prince, a theif, and a pauper who are basically supposed to secure a treaty. But, this treaty isn't just any kind - it's a treaty meant to keep the peace between the Fey and the Royals. When the ring is stolen, however, it becomes a different story and disasterous things such as war, could come to pass if it's not returned to Queen Victoria. Hamilton did a magnificent job of combining some of my favorite elements into a novel consisting of fantasy lore, magical realms, dangerous adventure, historical elements, memorable characters, and romance all into one fast paced intriguing, well developed novel. I love that the historical aspects of The Faerie Ring were spot on and that it carried over into the dialouge between the character's. There were just so many exciting details about The Faerie Ring that I found to be amazing and very much captivating. I fell in love with the magical realms and the world building that Hamilton successfully pulled off so flawlessly. Her attention to detail and historical accuracy, set the tone for The Faerie Ring early on and was able to keep me captivated with her unique turn of phrase, beautiful imagery, and clever plot twists. It's not hard to lose yourself in this spectacular novel filled with two world's colliding - one magical, while the other is completely unforgiving in its lesson's on survival. One of them, belonged to the character's. Tiki, is such a wonderful, likeable, and very relatable character. She was strong, indepenent, a bit fiesty, and came with mystery and intrigue all her very own. She possessed such a compassionate quality about her, with regards to her self-made rag-tag little family that she'd somehow created for herself. The lengths that she went to, in order to ensure that Clara was safe and had gotten the medical attention that she so desperately needed, was endearing and pulled at my heart strings in so many ways. I also enjoyed the fact that there was so much more to Reiker and that Tiki, in time, got to see that for herself in getting to know him throughout all the action and adventure. It was enjoyable to witness their verbal sparring and to see how protective he was of her. Their budding romance, was sweet and irresistable as well and I found myself rooting for these two consistently throughout the novel. Vastly suspenseful and filled with dark enthralling mystery and magical peril, The Faerie Ring will keep you up all night until the last page is turned. This is easily a five star novel. The Faerie Ring is an epic adventure that you will not want to miss out on.

Hereafter

Hereafter  - Tara Hudson Hereafter is a beatiful story that gives a unique twist to the average ghost story told. It is thrilling, mesmorizing, introspective, and captivating. It boldly asks the question of whether there can be life after death and just how much do you really start living once your dead? Hudson has such a way with words, that the imagery drawn from them leaves you almost as breathless as the colors of the cover draws your eye to attention. The character's are very well fleshed out and developed, and she pays special care to the plot. And for as much as I loved Hereafter a great deal, I have to admit that upon my initial first thought - I wondered how Hudson was going to pull off a romance between a mortal and a ghost. She simply surpassed my highest expectations, because this is a novel that I absolutely could not put down, once I started to read. I was glued to my seat and enraptured by the story she had to tell. Joshua isn't just a mere mortal boy, he's a seer - someone who is able to see the paranormal. They are supposed to use their gift of sight against ghosts or evil unclean spirits of the paranormal. In order to sense the ghosts or spirits of the paranormal, you have to experience a "triggering event." In Joshua's case, meeting a dead girl right after his heart stops. The thing is, he wasn't expecting the first ghost that he came in contact with to be Amelia nor did he expect her to try and save him in the process. This is what makes the two of these characters and their developing relationship, so interesting. Amelia, possesses a uniqueness all her own. She's strong, beautiful, and very likable in so many ways. Instantly, so many questions rose to the surface, where she was concerned. Who was she? What happened to her? Where did she come from and what was her connection to the darkness under High Bridge, what the Afterworlds are, and what part did Eli seem to play in it? And this brings me to Eli, dark, mysterious, and wanting to practically drag Amelia back to the darkness of the ghost world in an effort to keep her with him. I LIKED HIM. I know you're not supposed to, that he was supposed to be the character that you're very well supposed to dislike, but I didn't. He was interesting, he was dark, and there was a mystery that surrounded him. He was an un-clean spirit, one that Ruth (Joshua's grandmother), had warned about. He was not to be trusted and yet, I couldn't make myself hate someone that seemed so interesting. I think this has to do with the story of Eli's human life making him seem more, well...human. He is not exactly what he seems. Yes, he comes across as power hungry, cruel, and prideful. But, there's something else there, something deeper that commands me to enjoy a character with such depths. Not since Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer days spent giving us Spike or L.J. Smith's Damon from The Vampire Diaries, have I seen a character quite like this one leap to life from the pages of a book that I drank in a dizzying rush of emotion and something that made me see something more than what was on the surface. I didn't mind, delving into the murky depths of Eli's dark fascade to get to who he really is and it is both cruely delicious and human in some ways, compelled by a darkness that decends on all who crosses his path. He is a villian and it is absolutely delicous. As I mentioned before, Hereafter, features a sweet budding romance between a ghost and a mortal, in Tara Hudson's debut novel. It is interesting how Amelia and Joshua met and their romance developed over the course of the novel. Hudson explores the depths of self-discovery, love, and the art of connecting with someone on a deeper level of bonding all wrapped up in a nice little paranormal package. There is something more between these two characters, something more than just the fact that Joshua is a Seer and Amelia's being a ghost. The love that develops between these character's is sweet and very believable. It develops naturally and in such a way that makes the reader want that same happiness, the two want, for themselves. The story Hereafter entails what I like to affectionately refer to as the mystery of Amelia's ghost amnesia and continues to build on itself throughout, as you turn the pages and read further. There is a curiosity in what will come next, what question will be presented, and the answer that is sure to follow. It is a fast-paced, action-packed novel that will leave the reader wondering what's sure to happen next. I found it to be greatly exciting and invigorating, which is why I have no problem giving this novel a full five stars.

Lantern, The: A Novel

The Lantern - Deborah Lawrenson The Lantern is a lush and mysteriously gothic dreamscape that draws the reader in and evelopes them in a dark world filled with intrigue, mystery, intense passion and a beautiful scenery. It is a story that richly entails a love that is both deeply passionate and another that is just as heart wrenching. The atmosphere that Lawrenson provides early on in The Lantern does a marvelous job in setting the tone for the story depicted and brought to life through her brilliant turn of phrase and masterful imagery. The prose is beautiful and almost leaves the reader breathless, as the mystery and the story begin to unravel within the pages and it introduces them to the character's and the fate that keeps them tied to the old farmhouse in Provence. It plays well on the audience's senses as it introduces reader's to an old farmhouse in need of repairs that's been sealed up, possessing strange happenings that occur randomly. The mystery of a stain that Eve (the main protragonist) cannot seem to get rid of no matter how much she seems to try, keeps things intriguing and the various scents that seem to haunt the hallowed walls of this dwelling, does a wonderful job of breathing life into this novel. There is an intense feel of a modern gothic ghost story and a subtle romance that keeps the reader captivated, as they turn the pages and begin to sink deeper into The Lantern. It's very seductive in a sense, as it begins to weave magic, mystery, and darkness, mixing it with enchanting scenery and subtle hints of lavendar. The question of just how well Eve really knows Dom, who he was, what her suspiscions regarding him really were, and the lengths that she went to in an effort to uncover the mystery are ever present as the pacing of this book moves along a bit slowly and more deliberate at certain points pertaining to the plot. I personally found this to be mildy frustrating at times, but not so much that I couldn't appreciate the novel for the story it had to tell and the answers to the secrets that had been kept. The haunting nature of this novel is sure to leave a bit of a chill in any reader's bones, as the reader begins to wonder if Dom is who he really projects himself to be. Is he a masterful villian well skilled in the art of manipulation and secret keeping or is he a hero? There's a bit of a dark thrill, pulsing in the truth revealed regarding Dom's first wife that will be almost unexpected to the reader and possibly my personal favorite aspect of The Lantern. That being said, my only quibble is that it felt as if the character's weren't quite as fleshed out as I would have appreciated them to be, for example Dom. He could be, perhaps, closed off but also be well depicted in such a way that the reader gets to know who he is and what his story really entails. Sadly, I felt as if he was a bit lacking in this area, which is why I'm more apt in giving The Lantern three stars out of the five I would normally give. The pacing also played a significant part, as well. While I understand the need for it to be slow and deliberate in certain ways, it began to feel a bit too tedious for me to follow along as a reader. Although, I can honestly say that it was a good book in general and I would encourage anyone who enjoys gothic novels to read this one and judge it for themselves and not just solely rely on my opinion alone. I am thrilled that I was give the opportunity to read and review The Lantern honestly, because it was a captivating story that I enjoyed depsite the few flaws I encountered along the way. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a modern twist on ghothic ghost stories that incorporate romance as well.

Deadly Cool (Hartley Featherstone)

Deadly Cool - Gemma Halliday ❝THERE ARE THREE THINGS YOU NEVER WANT TO FIND in your boyfriend's locker: a sweaty jock strap, a D minus on a last week's history test, and an empy condom wrapper. Lucky me, I'd hit the trifecta.❞ Deadly Cool is an action packed, fun, witty, relatable, mystery that is slightly reminicent of Meg Cabot's writing style. It's been compared to the likes of Veronica Mars meets Pretty Little Liars. I adore both of those shows, so I was excited to get the opportunity to read this and it did not disappoint. It was funny and smart in all the right ways, as it introduced character's that I enjoyed, amped up the mystery by proving me wrong every time I thought I had it figured out, and a hot mysterious bad boy that I nor the main protagonist (Hartley) could resist. I have a tendency to enjoy mysteries in general, so it was no surprise at all that I liked Deadly Cool as much as I did. It didn't take me long to read this book, I pratically devoured it within like a day and a half, because I just did not want to put it down once I started reading. The ending was surprising, because I just didn't see it coming and I actually liked that. A good portion of the time, I find myself being able to figure out the mystery and solve it before I finish a book, but with Deadly Cool that wasn't the case at all. I liked how well Halliday did a fantastic job making the suspsects look like the suspects that they were supposed to represent, but still possessing enough innocence that you almost doubted whether or not they were culpable the better part of the time, while reading. Halliday does a marvelous job at providing the right amount of supsense and intrigue, needed to fuel the mystery that Hartley has decided to solve, along with her best friend and the mysterious bad boy who turns out, is not so much "bad boy" after all once you get to know him. Hartley is a very likable and relatable character in so many ways. She is fun, witty, and super sweet even if she is hurt by the fact that her ex-boyfriend is pretty much a scum sucking sack of waste, who cheated on her with the president of the Chasity Club. She possesses a certain amount of strength and compassion, which is a driving force at getting to the truth of the mystery, even if she is somewhat hurt by that truth. The secondary character's were just as essential to the plot of the novel, because they were there to serve a purpose as the suspects they were meant to be and Halliday successfully utilized them to the best of her ability, in a well thoughout plot driven novel. Personally, I think everyone should have a bff like Sam. She was super amazing, funny, a little over-the-top dramatic, and totally supportive of Hartley. You can't go wrong with a menagerie of character's as colorful as these. One other thing the novel does, is point out the social status as far as high school and young adults go. For instance, the popular people consist of Color Gaurd Girls, Cheerleaders, the Footballer's along with the rest of the sports teams, and those who come from families that have money. Then there's the social outcasts, which is the category that Hartley, Sam, and so many other's seem to fall into. I liked that Halliday established early on, that Hartley chose not to be a part of the Color Gaurd or the Cheerleaders, setting hereslf apart from them on her own terms. Deadly Cool, was a deadly cool fun read that I enjoyed quite a bit and I am looking forward to the sequel that follows, Social Suicide. I know, without a doubt, that it will definitely live up to it's title in a hip new way that will draw reader's in and keep them captivated until the end, the same way Deadly Cool will.

Shut Out

Shut Out - Kody Keplinger Shut Out is a modern re-telling of an old Greek playwrite written by Aristophane's, Lysistrata. Keplinger is very successful in giving it a unique twist all its own. Set in a modern high school, where she pits the Football team against the Soccer team in a ten year long rivalry, the girls become fed up with it and decide to go on a sex strike pitting them against the boys. It is a highly charged, edgey, and sarcastic lesson in human sexuality, the power of manipulation, and all of the double standards that come along with it. I don't necessarily know that I would personally call it a game well played, but it was a pretty decent novel over-all despite a couple of issues that I may have had with it. I did manage to admire Kepling's best efforts in tackling such controversial subject matter and utilizing a bit of her own personalilty. She does her best and succeeds well, in getting a pretty good positive message across, that can sometimes come with unexpected consequences as well. Shut-Out has managed to leave me with a few mixed emotions, in that I liked it to a degree and then I sort of didn't. There were certain things that bothered me and one of those things was the main character, Lissa. At certain points throughout the novel, it felt as if she was using the sex strike for her own personal reasons instead of the reasons that it had been initiated to begin with. Suddenly, it stopped being about ending the ten year long rivalry between the Football and Soccer teams, and started to become more about her own personal issues. For example, the fact that she felt as if she'd been rejected by Cash and she was going to use the sex strike to manipulate his feelings for her. That completely turned me off and it made me dislike her character a great deal. I stopped feeling sorry for her the minute she started acting like that and encouraging the other girls to use the sex strike as a weapon against the guys they were dating, as well. All in all, though, Shut-Out is a well rounded novel, that isn't afraid to speak candidly and openly about sexuality and explore the questions that come along with the territory or how it affects the youth of our generation. For that alone, I can give it four solid stars and be alright with it.