Soul Promise (The Soul Mate Series Book 2) Blog Tour – Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway

Release Date: July 20th, 2014
Summary from Goodreads:
“Broken is finding the light and the healing you crave,
and knowing you can never have it.”
After the attack on his sister and his newfound abilities forming, Henry Williams is struggling to keep it all together. His wolf does not allow him to sleep, and he is beginning to hear voices, torturing him mercilessly.
Henry feels as though there is a war brewing inside of him and he is unable to control it. As a protector, he must find a way to fight his inner demons before he is left vulnerable to the real ones.
But an unexpected love finds Henry and he tries hard to resist it. Will Henry be able to overcome his inner demons? Will he be able to protect his mate? 

 

This is book number 2 in this series. Please note that it is suggested to read the series in sequential order. 
*Warning* This novel is intended for mature YA readers. 15 + for language and mild violence.

Review:

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed True Connection so when I was offered the chance to read and review Soul Promise I was really excited! Soul Promise picks up right where TC left off but tells Henry’s story this time around.  I liked the fact that I could easily slip inside his head and fall back into his world. Henry is going through a lot. He’s just found out he can shape shift into a wolf, that his biological father is a murderer, and his head is filled with the whispers of something dark. Henry struggles knowing that even though something is after him, he doesn’t know how to protect himself or his family.

My favorite things about this series are the bonds between the characters. Henry’s relationship with his family and his pack are extremely evident throughout both books. It’s nice to see an emphasis placed on familial bonds and I love that Henry actually has a parent who knows what’s going on with him. It’s awesome when parents actually take part in a  YA novel, rather than being sidelined or absent. I also just love his relationships with Jazzy and Barry. I love the comedic relief their teasing each other brings to the story but when things are rough they’re always there for each other. I also loved his relationship with Skeeter/Delilah. Delilah has just enough spunk to go head to head with Henry and keep him grounded. I was definitey cheering for them (since book 1, actually!) and there were definitely some moments where I  “squeed.”

I can’t say enough about the supernatural elements of this series, the different beings are definitely unique and fresh. I think my favorite beings might just be the Firebirds. So hopefully we’ll get to see more from them, or perhaps a book focused on Tristan?

As for the overall story, I felt that it was well-paced, there were a few places I felt the story was a little rushed. I definitely couldn’t put this book down and was so happy it lived up to book 1! I can’t wait to read what’s in store for these crazy characters! I would definitely recommend this series to readers who love a great cast of characters and unique supernatural elements!

 Excerpt:

Finding Dad and Sophie’s graves, I shift back to my human form and slip the elastic belt loose to release my shorts. I put them on and walk between the stones to sit right in front of Dad’s headstone. Seeing his name, Curtis James Williams, I nearly lose myself. I break my stillness by wiping away some dirt from the face of the stone.

“Hey, Dad,” I whisper. Taking a seat in the grass, I begin pulling weeds, my usual routine. “Things have been…well, pretty insane.”

I think back over the last few weeks since the last time I visited. Between finals in school, working out, pack duties, learning things of this world that I never knew possible, fighting and not fighting with Skeeter, things have been intense and nonstop crazy.

“Football will start in August. I don’t think I’m doing the playbook boot camp again this year. I know it’s important, but I’ve got a lot on my plate now. I won’t give up football,” I promise my dad.

With a hard swallow, I decide to move into updating him on the family. “Mom is trying to be Mom,” I say, yanking a weed from in front of his headstone. “She’s okay, I think. I know it’s harder on her than she lets on, but she’s trying to live for us, which is more than she did a few months ago. She has days where the tears just won’t stop, but they’re not as constant now. She seems angrier than usual.” I wince as memories zoom around me. Mom got angry at me for throwing my wet towel in the hamper, ripped into Leland over a brand of peanut butter he bought, and has been suspicious of Jaz and Seth for no reason. I’d rather not rehash all that again, so I continue on with the family updates.

“Alex is talking more. Sometimes we can understand him. He just started calling me Heywe the other day,” I say proudly. Alex is Leland’s son and is a little over a year old. He only says “dada” and “Heywe.” Mom and Jaz were a bit upset about that and are still trying to teach him new words.

“He’s getting a lot better with walking, too. He’s not tottering as much and doesn’t need help all the time. Mom fusses when he falls down, but I know she’s enjoying watching him walk and try to reach different milestones. Leland had to baby proof the living room and kitchen, too, because Alex thought his gold fish crackers belonged in the VCR and DVD player. That was a mess. Leland just tossed it after attempting to shake out all the crackers.” I snort.

I don’t tell him about the time Alex put his teddy in the cabinet next to the oven. None of us could find it and he had no way of letting us know where it was, even if he could remember. I can laugh now, but that was a rough two days. He screamed almost non-stop for that thing. Jazzy finally found it when she went to make waffles, and he conked out as soon as he got his little hands on it. Dad had picked out that teddy bear just for Alex the day Psycho Sammy, Leland’s ex, dropped him off, calling him freak spawn. That teddy is Alex’s best friend now.

I grab a few more weeds and pile them off to the side. It’s not many, and the landscapers usually get them all, but they don’t come out often.

 Giveaway:

 
Author Bio:

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Rachel is a wife and mother from Central Pennsylvania. Her favorite season is fall, for hockey, changing leaves, pumpkin everything, and bonfires often. She’s also a coffeenista with an insomnia problem. When Rachel isn’t playing with the people inside her head, making her family believe she belongs in the loony bin, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, species confused cat (he believes he’s part dog, love him), and finding new books and music.

Regarding writing, her first love is Young Adult Paranormal, but she’s venturing outside of her comfort zone and opening up to writing more genres. Be on the look out!

    

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Delirium by Lauren Oliver – Audiobook Review

I’m going to preface this review with a little info. I’ve been a bit slack with reviewing lately due to a crazy personal life, I just got a new full-time job and I’m continuing working part-time on the weekends, plus I’m getting married in October so wedding planning has consumed my life! However, I’ve been listening to audiobooks on my 45+ minute drive to and from work. Hence my ability to get Delirium “read” in a decent time frame.

Release Date: February 7th, 2012
Summary from Goodreads:
Ninety-five days, and then I’ll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It’s hard to be patient. It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t. 

 

Review:

I’ve been super weary about reading Delirium. I’m not exactly sure why, maybe because there have been a lot of serious hit and misses with Dystopian novels or maybe it’s because there’s been a major hype around the series. I actually accidentally bought Pandemonium a few months back thinking it was the first book. I had a lot of Audible credits stacking up so I decided to splurge and buy a few audiobooks. I am really, really glad I decided to listen to Delirium on audiobook. It was so well done. I mean, really, really well done. After speaking with a friend and fellow blogger I found out that the woman who voices Lena is actually an actress so that explains her ability to perfectly capture the character. Before I get too in depth about the audio portion of the book I want to speak to the actual story first.

In a society where love has been forbidden, what do you live for? That was the question I asked myself when I began Delirium. The idea of a society without love is so foreign that I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the concept and wasn’t sure how Oliver was going to pull it off but she did, she knocked it out of the park.

Lena is a normal 17-year-old girl who runs cross-country, hangs out with her best friend Hana, and fantasizes about the day she will be officially cured of “Deliria Nervosa” more commonly known as Love. Lena is full of life and feelings, despite a lot of internal dialogue trying to convince herself otherwise, but once she is “cured” she will be devoid of all emotion. Lena looks forward to this with great anticipation since she has spent her life being ostracized because of her family’s indiscretions including being tainted by the deliria.

At one point I was worried I would find Lena’s internal conflict really annoying. It was pretty persistent but as the story progressed I realized that it gave the story a feeling of authenticity. What teenager (or adult for that matter) doesn’t submit to internal banter and berating when faced with difficult choices and ideas that conflict with lifelong beliefs? I found Lena’s inner monologue to really add depth to her as a character and really let me get to know her.

Lena also had some fairly solid relationships which was a nice thing to see. I’ve noticed that many YA characters don’t have a strong parental presence which was not the case for Lena. Lena grew up with her extended family, her Aunt Carol acting as a mother figure and her cousins offering a pseudo sibling network. She was also close with her sister Rachel before she was cured and Rachel is a key player in Lena’s thoughts and life. In addition to her family ties, Lena has a best friend, Hana who is a riot. Hana was undoubtedly an amazing character. She was funny, sarcastic, and  the complete opposite of Lena. Where Lena was all caution and playing by the rules, Hana didn’t have too many issues bending the rules to fit her desires. The unlikely friendship between Hana and Lena and the bond they formed over the years felt real and not superficial. Although they have their quarrels, there’s definitely a level of love shared between the two that seems unshakable (at least until they get cured). The other vital character is Alex. He’s a guard for the government and has taken an interest in Lena. Lena is a bit confused by his persistent attempts at friendship but deems Alex safe since he’s cured. However, there’s an air of mystery surrounding Alex that Lena can’t quite figure out but intrigues her. I was not expecting Alex to be such a nice guy. I think my assumption that he would be more of a bad boy came from the casting of his character, which I know, don’t judge a book by its cover. Alas Alex is such a doll and has wormed his way into my heart as one of my favorite book boys. I mean, who doesn’t love a man who reads outlawed poetry?

As I said before the world building in Delirium was well done. The setting wasn’t all that different than our society in 21st century. They have computers and go to school, they just aren’t allowed to love. So I didn’t find anything to be confusing or overwhelming. There isn’t a lot of time spent on the world-building instead the focus is on the story behind the “deliria” which I thought was more important.

The only negative things I have to say about Delirium is that there were a few points where it was a little slow and the plot was predictable.

With well-paced action and a great deal of emotional depth, Delirium is a book I would definitely recommend. The characters are well-fleshed out and the world is easy to sink into. I can’t wait to see what is next for Lena in Pandemonium!

As for the audiobook itself, it was amazing . Sarah Drew is Lena. She captured all of Lena’s thoughts, fears, heartache, and happiness with such grace. Lauren Oliver writes a beautiful novel and Drew truly brings it her words to life. Even though I own Pandemonium in book format, I’m tempted to buy it in audiobook just hear Lena come to life again. Not only is Drew so good at capturing Lena, she’s also able to change her voice to fit each character and give them each their own distinctive tone. It’s really amazing. Her Alex voice captures his easy-going nature so well that I almost believe it’s another person. This is the best audiobook I’ve listened to thus far and would recommend it highly!

Waiting on Wednesday #12 – Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins

 

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

I cannot WAIT to read Sweet Reckoning! This is the third and final book in the Sweet Series and I’m really excited to see where Higgins takes us.

Sweet Reckoning (The Sweet Trilogy, #3)

Genre: YA Paranormal

Release Date: April 29th 2014

Blurb:

It’s time. 

Evil is running rampant and sweet Anna Whitt is its target. Nobody knows when or how the Dukes will strike, but Anna and her Nephilim allies will do anything necessary to rid the earth of the demons and their oppressive ways.

The stakes are higher than ever, and Anna is determined that the love she feels will be her strength, not a liability. But trying to protect the ones she loves while running for her life and battling demonic forces proves to be perilous—especially as faces are changing and trust is fleeting. When the Duke of Lust sends Anna’s great love, Kaidan Rowe, to work against her, Anna must decide how much she’s prepared to risk.

In the most sensual and fast-paced installment yet, Sweet Reckoning brings all the beloved Neph together one last time to fight for their freedom.

Link to Goodreads

What are you waiting on?

The Sowing by K. Makansi Blog Tour – Review & Giveaway!

Today is my stop on The Sowing blog tour! A big thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for hosting!  I have a review and giveaway for you so be sure to enter! 
Release Date: August 19th, 2013
Summary from Goodreads:
Remy Alexander was born into the elite meritocracy of the Okarian Sector. From an early age, she and her friends were programmed for intellectual and physical superiority through specialized dietary regimes administered by the Okarian Agricultural Consortium. But when her older sister Tai was murdered in a brutal classroom massacre, her parents began to suspect foul play. They fled the Sector, taking their surviving daughter underground to join the nascent Resistance movement. But now, three years later, Remy’s former schoolgirl crush, Valerian Orleán, is put in charge of hunting and destroying the Resistance. As Remy and her friends race to unravel the mystery behind her sister’s murder, Vale is haunted by the memory of his friendship with Remy and is determined to find out why she disappeared. As the Resistance begins to fight back against the Sector, and Vale and Remy search for the answers to their own questions, the two are set on a collision course that could bring everyone together—or tear everything apart.

Book Links:
GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & Noble
Review:

*I received an eCopy in exhange for an honest review.

I love dystopian young adult books. In fact, as cliché as this may seem, The Hunger Games enticed me back into regularly reading. So when I saw the blurb for The Sowing I HAD to read it. It looked like a really interesting world. Although there are tons of dystopian novels out there and the idea of food rationing isn’t new, I found that The Sowing was able to discover its own niche within the genre.

I have to say this outright. I’m not a huge fan of alternating POV’s. In the beginning of The Sowing, I struggled with the switch between Remy and Vale’s POV’s because I didn’t feel there was a distinctive difference in voice. However, as the novel progressed I found the transition between characters to be smoother and I felt as though two distinct individual were speaking to me.

One thing that really stood out in this novel, and I wish that more YA novels would adapt, was diversity among the characters. There were varying backgrounds and races which I think speaks volumes of the authors. Speaking of the characters, I really thought they were a strong point of The Sowing. I enjoyed both Remy and Vale’s personalities and I thought they both brought something valuable to the book. There was obvious animosity between Vale and Remy given that she left the Sector and Vale stayed behind. However, I will say that the lines between friend and enemy are seriously blurred. It was interesting to see both sides of the coin and realize that both Remy and Vale were fighting for what they believed to be right. Additionally, it was intriguing to see each characters beliefs and preconceptions be challenged and in some cases swayed. It showed that Remy and Vale both have the ability to grow exponentially in the forthcoming novels. In addition to Remy and Vale the rest of the major (and even minor) players are unforgettable. I especially loved Eli and Miah. They were quite entertaining.

Now, I took hard sciences in school and I really just skated by. I was a little nervous when some pretty heavy science entered the book. However, I thought it was handled brilliantly. Rather than throw a whole bunch of facts at the reader, Makansi engaged and taught the science aspects rather than skating over them. I appreciated this because a) it’s annoying when an author assumes that a reader isn’t interested or dare I say, smart enough to comprehend what’s going on and b) just completely avoids doing the research necessary to make the science seem believable.

I thought the world building was really thorough but it did make for some dragging sections throughout the book. There was definitely enough action and dialogue throughout to keep me engaged and once I got through the first few chapters I really powered through. I think overall the pacing could have been a little bit better but it didn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth.

The mystery behind the death of Remy’s sister and her classmates/professor kept me intrigued and I was desperate to know who was and was not involved. I like a good tale of lies, deceit, and corruption.

As for the romance, there is some, but it doesn’t overshadow the plot but it adds tension to the plot. There is an obvious and almost palpable connection between Vale and Remy but there’s also a lot of animosity.

Overall, I enjoyed The Sowing. I found it engaging and the characters powerful. I will definitely read the next in the series. Again, my only complaints were with the alternating POV’s for the first few chapters and the pacing being a little off. I would recommend this book to YA dystopian/sci-fi readers.

Giveaway!

Tour wide Giveaway (Open Internationally):

–25$ Amazon Gift Card

–Signed copy of The Sowing

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:

K. Makansi is the pen name for the writing triumvirate consisting of Amira, Elena, and Kristina Makansi. Two sisters and their mother, the three women developed a passionate interest in science fiction as a way to write about issues of food sovereignty and food justice. Elena is pursuing a degree in environmental studies at Oberlin College in Ohio, and will graduate in May of 2014. Amira was a history student at the University of Chicago whose day job working in the cellar of a winery (and constantly being splattered with wine) keeps her busy when she’s not writing. And Kristy owns and operates Blank Slate Press, an independent publishing company based out of St. Louis, and is a partner at Treehouse Publishing Group, a company providing editorial and design services to aspiring authors. When not writing or reading, the three can be found having animated discussions around the dinner table, sharing a good bottle of wine, or taking long walks in the park eagerly plotting out their next book.

Author Links:
http://theseedstrilogy.com/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7173640.K_Makansi
https://www.facebook.com/TheSeedsTrilogy
https://twitter.com/akmakansi

Valentine’s Day Announcement & Giveaway from Author Danielle Sibarium

Today I have a very special Valentine’s Day announcement from author Danielle Sibarium!

“First, I would like to thank you for allowing me to announce my special message on your blog. I am so honored to be here today. I understand your blog is a reflection of you and so I thank you for giving me this opportunity. Next, I’d like to thank every reader that has ever picked up one of my books and given them a chance. And finally I’d like to thank all of my fans that have felt compelled to reach out to me. I have appreciated all of your letters, messages, and support, whether it came in an email, or just a short and sweet tweet.

When I began this journey, I had no expectations. I had dreams and hopes and wishes, but to say I expected For Always to take on a life of its own would not be true. Since its release in October of 2011, many people have contacted me asking me if I planned to write a sequel. I thought Stephanie and Jordan’s story had been completed, but for many of you, it wasn’t enough. So because you asked, because you told me in no uncertain terms you wanted it, I am working on And Forever, the sequel to For Always. And Forever picks up where For Always ended. While Stephanie and Jordan are finally a couple, they still carry the same baggage they had before. Can their love survive the ghosts of their past and the challenges of the future?

I hope you are excited about this as I am. I expect And Forever to be released in July 2014. Until then, look for teasers on Facebook and Twitter. And before I go, I leave you with this, the having him try to convince me otherwise promised to be amazing. Happy reading!”

Excerpt from And Forever‘s Prologue:

 

The scent of death lingered nearby. Always. Only I didn’t attract it, I repelled it, like a deflector shield. This was my lot in life, to extend the days of those I loved. That theory came from Jordan; the keeper of my heart, and the love of my life!

I sighed. I didn’t realize I did it until Jordan apologized. Again.

“I’m sorry Steph, I don’t want to be distracted.”

“I know. I understand. Promise.”

He misunderstood. It was a contented sigh. One that said I was thrilled my boyfriend was driving me to school. The sigh was a sign of how surreal sitting next to Jordan and knowing that he loved me was. How I couldn’t believe in a matter of hours he’d be leaving me alone on the college campus, and I intended to savor each minute with him. The sigh was the only chance I had of getting any of those sentiments across because he didn’t want me to talk while he was driving. I knew just being in the car together was challenging for him.
Jordan still suffered the after effects of a terrible car accident that left his ex-girlfriend dead. Of course he was breaking up with her at the time because he loved me, and I pushed him into making a choice between us. When he served as my unexpected prom date, I made him admit his feelings. That’s what led to his break-up with Madison, leaving him in a swamp of guilt induced quick sand when she died. But we worked through all that.

I hoped.

I didn’t bother saying anything further to try and reassure him I wasn’t upset. I’d already been warned he couldn’t concentrate on the road and to keep the radio down. The problem was he wanted it down so low I couldn’t hear the music. I glanced at his hands on the steering wheel, his knuckles were white. He held on so tight I expected his fingers to cramp up. I hated that this was so hard for him. I wished I knew how to make it better, but the only thing I could do was stand beside him and hope in time he’d heal.
I turned to my window, watching the never ending expanse of trees zoom by. I wished for a brief moment I’d gone in the other car with my mother and her new, at least new to me, boyfriend Eddie. I’d been clueless about Eddie, but after her health scare last week, she came clean. She wanted to see him and had been ordered to take a few days off of work. Work is where they’d rendezvous during lunch. She’d been frightened when they first told her it looked like a heart attack and realized it was silly to keep him hidden away. No way I wanted to hear what cheesy, weird things they might be talking about. I mean it was my mom, gross. Still, I was happy for her. My father died a decade ago and as far as I knew she’d never dated before.
I chose to ride with Jordan, because even in the deafening silence, and the tension he carried on his shoulders every time we got in a car together, there was nowhere else I’d rather be. From the first moment he spoke to me, he owned my heart. It was branded with his name. I’d tried for four years to move on, to forget him, but that wasn’t an option for me. No one could hold a candle to him.

“Hey,” He pulled my attention back to the here and now. “You know I love you right?”

I smiled. Of course he knew that would make me smile, that’s why he said it. It felt like that’s all I’d done over the last week since he found me crying on the beach. I’ll never forget the wave of relief that washed over me when I found out he’d been spared from a terrible plane crash. He never made it on the plane because I called him at the last minute in an attempt to get him to stay. Thank goodness I did. I didn’t know where he was going or why, but Maria warned me that he was leaving, and it might be forever.

I always believed myself to be the root cause of the bad things that happen to people around me, Jordan thought I was what kept them hanging on. I didn’t believe him, at least not yet. But having him try to convince me otherwise promised to be amazing.

 

Giveaway!

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Author Links:

Facebook

For Always (Book 1) Links:

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The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4) by Richelle Mead – Review

Release Date: November 19th, 2013
Summary from Goodreads:
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives.In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure — and re-education — looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

Review:

After the ending of The Indigo Spell I was crazy with excitement to get my hands on The Fiery Heart. I love Richelle Mead and I love this series. Adrian is my ultimate, all-time favorite book boyfriend. However, I sadly did not love The Fiery Heart. I liked it, don’t get me wrong, but it just lacked something for me. I wasn’t even sure I was going to write this review because it pains me that I didn’t like this book as much as a lot of other people.

The things I did love made up a lot for my biggest issue of all. So let’s get that out of the way. I felt the plot was pretty slow. Generally, the beginning of any Mead book starts off at a nice, slow pace. We get a little recap of books prior to refresh our memories and then things tend to pick up. I honestly didn’t feel like this book ever picked up. There was so much going on that at times I was a little confused as to where the story was going, and not in a good way. There was a really great ending but it didn’t make up for the 80% that had very little action.

As for the parts I loved. Thank the heavens I did not have to wait 6 books for these two to get together like with Rose and Dimitri. I loved the dating aspect of Sydney and Adrian’s relationship. It was fun and cute and I love that the entire series didn’t revolve around them pining after but never giving in to their attraction towards each other. I loved the sweet and tender moments between them and it definitely (as if he wasn’t already) cemented Adrian into my heart forever.

As for Sydney, I really feel like she’s growing into a really strong and formidable character. At the beginning of Bloodlines I was really unsure of her. She honestly seemed a little lackluster and I wasn’t sure she’d ever break out of her prim and proper mold. I’m really glad she did. There’s nothing wrong with having morals and beliefs but when it causes someone to be blinded by reality it’s kind of annoying. Between The Indigo Spell and The Fiery Heart I have decided that Sydney is definitely becoming a character I love.

I was glad that we finally got to see a little more of the characters from Vampire Academy. Even though it was only a few short scenes, it’s nice to know that the old gang is making some appearances. It’s weird to see them through the eyes of another character but it’s interesting, nonetheless.

This is also the first time that Mead has written from the POV of a Moroi. In Vampire Academy we did get to see into Lissa’s head but it was never truly her story. In The Fiery Heart we get to see life from Adrian’s eyes. Adrian is a character that has always fascinated me. He is truly full of both the light and the dark. Although we’ve gotten snippets of the manic side of Adrian, seeing what truly goes on beyond his flippant nature was enlightening. With Rose, we always saw what Spirit Magic did to the mind of the Shadow Kissed but with Adrian we get to see the mind of the Spirit User.

All the drama in The Fiery Heart did add for some serious entertainment value. And all I have to say is if I were Sydney, I would disown my youngest sibling and my father. They are some seriously annoying and patronizing individuals. I know it’s not that easy to cut-off a parent or sibling but for real, Sydney, chop these relationships down!

Overall, I liked The Fiery Heart. It had its moments of greatness, I just wish there was a little more action. This may seem silly since I said a lot is going on but for me there was just a little something missing. However, the introduction of Sydney to Ms. Terwillinger’s Coven, Trey, Marcus, Malachi, and the tattoos, Adrian’s lack of magic use, and Sydney’s efforts of keeping Zoey in the dark about her relationship with Adrian, there’s enough to keep the reader busy. I will always love Mead’s way of story-telling and her ability to multi-task multiple character storylines at once. After the major cliff-hanger at the end of The Fiery Heart, I’m positive the next book will pick up it up a few notches.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – Review

Release Date: September 10th, 2013
Summary from Goodreads:
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Review:

When Fangirl went on sale a while back I had heard wonderful things about Rainbow Rowell so I checked out some ratings and decided it was well worth a shot. I saw that the reviews had been a little mixed which piqued my interest, I probably shouldn’t admit it but when there is discord among readers it often convinces me even more to buy/read a book. I really had no idea what this book was going to be about other than a girl who is obsessed with a fictional character named Simon Snow, so I pretty much went in blind.

I’m really glad I read Fangirl. I had been in a bit of a rut, not reading much and when I did read I just wasn’t enjoying it the way I always have. But Cath, Levi, Reagan, and the gang changed my tune. I loved Fangirl. A lot. I thought it was sweet and quirky and really reflected that sometimes holding onto something so tight can blind you from all the good things in store.

The book starts with Cath heading off to the start college with her identical twin sister Wren. Cath and Wren may be identical on the outside but their personalities are very different. When Wren tells Cath she doesn’t want to room together it pretty much shatters Cath’s ideal college life.  That is how Cath ends up with upperclassmen, Reagan. At first Cath doesn’t know what to do with Reagan. She’s bold, she’s intimidating, and she’s extremely blunt.  Along with Reagan comes Levi, a guy Cath suspects is Reagan’s boyfriend since he spends so much time waiting outside their door for Reagan or with Reagan herself.

On top of the pressure of learning to blend in to collegiate life Cath is faced with the daunting task of finishing Carry On, Simon, a fanfic of her favorite books about the one and only Simon Snow. So this is where readers of Fangirl seemed to be really divided. Some loved the idea of a fellow fanfic writer telling her story and some thought it was a totally mockery. In my opinion, I think Rowell was trying to tell the story of a girl who let her life be so consumed by fantasy that it blinded her to real life. I don’t think the book was meant to be mocking and granted there were a lot of parallels between Simon Snow and the world’s favorite boy Wizard but I think that was a plot tool to help readers relate. That’s just my opinion and I’m sure some will completely disagree but that’s their prerogative. That being said, the story does alternate between Cath’s life, to her fanfic and the actual Simon Snow stories. I know some readers found this annoying but I thought it was a clever parallel between Cath and Simon Snow’s lives. I think it was purposefully written this way so that the readers could see Cath and Simon (and even Baz) grow into the characters they were meant to be.

I have to say of all the things I loved about this book (which I will definitely get to); I most loved the normalcy of the story. There were no big, deep, dark secrets waiting in the background. There was drama, including family and boy issues, but there wasn’t some huge issue that needed to be brought to light. It was a bit refreshing in my eyes.

I also liked the slow-burn romance. More often than not, in YA there are a lot of really quick romances. I don’t have a major problem with insta-love but it’s nice to see the other side of the coin now and then. Not every teen jumps into love head-first. I loved the chemistry and the lack of pressure put on Cath. Cath’s romantic journey felt real to me, however innocent it might have been, and I enjoyed falling in love with her.

As for the characters, I loved them. Cath was a bit naïve at times but I don’t think it was unrealistic. Not every 18 year old goes into college with the same experiences. I know people like Cath, so I know that her type of person does exist. As for Levi, Levi was a doll. I always say this when I come across nice boys in books but goodness do I love the nice ones. Levi was just an average guy but just reading about him put a smile on my face. Levi always smiles so even through a book it’s contagious. And as for Reagan, I loved her, as well. She was one fierce girl and I loved that she took Cath under her wing and helped her navigate the college life a little better. As for Cath’s family, as dysfunctional as they seemed to be, I’m glad they got their time in the spotlight. I think it’s important for YA authors to build a strong familial background for MC’s (unless the MC doesn’t have a family); it makes the character more believable. I also will admit that I even loved Simon and Baz. It’s funny because they weren’t even the main characters in this story but I found myself wanting to know how their story ended, as well. It was like getting the cliff-note version of their story with some of the best parts.

Anyways, I loved Fangirl. I thought it was a really good book about growing up and letting go of childhood fantasies. I know it won’t appeal to all readers due to the nature with which it is told and the subject of which it is about. But hey, that’s books. I would personally highly recommend this book to YA contemporary lovers. It was a well-written and engrossing read for me. Plus, everyone needs a little Levi in their life.