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Sweet Peril (Sweet Trilogy #2) by Wendy Higgins

 

Sweet Peril (Sweet Trilogy #2)

By Wendy Higgins

SummaryAnna Whitt, the daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a vow. She’d been naive about a lot of things. 

Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaiden Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind.

When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaiden must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?

Source: I borrowed a Kindle copy from my local library

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Review:

I admit that Sweet Evil was a total guilty pleasure YA romance read that took me out of a reading slump, but wasn’t amazing or mind blowing. I could say the same about Sweet Peril, but I also have to admit that it was a really good sequel. In the land of second-book syndrome and awful sequels, YA trilogies with sequels that are better than the first book are rare. Sweet Peril was awesome and much more addicting than the first book. 

Anna was thrust into a lifestyle and had to embrace her darker side in order to fit in and escape the radar of worse characters. Unfortunately, Kaiden’s father was one of those worse characters and it meant her relationship with him wasn’t to be. There was miscommunication, romantic tension, and resistance. It was so much fun.

Sweet Peril was a steamy YA paranormal romance with a ton of conflicts and darker adventures and I couldn’t get enough. I loved the characters, the romance, and the plot and I definitely don’t care if it’s a guilty pleasure kind of book. It was exactly what I needed to get me out of my slump and I can’t get enough. 

Star 4

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Review – Sweet Evil (Sweet Trilogy #1) by Wendy Higgins

 

Sweet Evil (Sweet Trilogy #1)

By Wendy Higgins

SummaryEmbrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

Source: I borrowed a Kindle copy from my local library.

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Review:

I was in the mood to read a lighthearted and romantic YA paranormal story, but the main issue is that I’ve read so many books. I couldn’t really figure out what was left to read in this category and I stumbled upon Sweet Evil and decided to dig in.

I enjoyed Sweet Evil. It dealt with guardian angels, demons, and the Nephilim and was from Anna’s POV. She was a teenager who always knew she was different. She could see auras and she interpreted them in the form of emotions, so she could sense the emotions of everyone around her. She started to see wisps around people around the same time she turned sixteen and ran into a bad boy drummer without an aura. She wanted to know who he was and why he didn’t have an aura.

Meeting Kaiden propelled her into a dangerous and intriguing life that she was a part of. 

I think my favorite part was that Anna, while somewhat oblivious, wasn’t your typical naive perfect human teenager who suddenly found out she’s supposed to change the world. To some degree, she knew she wasn’t human and it made her a little less naive, despite the fact that she lived a demon-free life unlike the other beings who were like her. I liked that it was a little different and she wasn’t as insufferable as her fellow YA paranormal romance heroines.

Sweet Evil was fun to read and suited my mood. It wasn’t the most complex or thought provoking read, but it was exactly what I needed and I loved the push and pull between Anna and Kaiden.

I definitely recommend the book to anyone who loves YA paranormal romance.

Star 4

Review – Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer

 

Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined

By Stephenie Meyer

SummaryWHEN BEAUFORT SWAN MOVES TO THE gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edythe Cullen, his life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With her porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edythe is both irresistible and enigmatic.

WHAT BEAU DOESN’T REALIZE IS THE closer he gets to her, the more he is putting himself and those around him at risk. And, it might be too late to turn back…

IN CELEBRATION OF THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY of Twilight, Stephenie Meyer has crafted Life and Death, a bold and compelling reimagining of the iconic love story that will surprise and enthrall readers. This special dual edition includes a foreword by the author as well as the complete original novel. Turn this book over to read Twilight.

Source: I borrowed a kindle copy from my local library

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Review:

Curiosity got the best of me and I finally decided to pick this up. I have always liked Twilight, though I’m not one of those fans who think it’s not without its flaws. I frequently defend Bella because I think she was a certain way because of her personality in general and wasn’t meant to be a symbol for all girls everywhere to submit to a creepy man with abusive tendencies. I think people read way too much into things to be honest and Bella has her own strengths. I don’t feel like it’s that awful to find out who you are at the same time you meet someone you can’t live without and I don’t think the book pushes that, but I also believe that teens are NOT idiots and can read a romance without mimicking it, so there’s no real harm, but that’s an argument I’ve made before in greater detail so I’m moving on. 

Anyway, the idea of gender swapping the characters appealed to me because I wanted to see Meyer make her case that the story can work without Bella being a doormat that “sets women back” or symbolizes an unhealthy girl stuck in gender roles that will make teen girls also become doormats. Because I defend Bella as a character, I wanted Meyer to prove to me that it CAN work the other way around.

I do feel that some things worked by switching genders and I feel like Meyer successfully presented the situation. I hope she stops getting so much flack for “ruining feminism” or YA romance or whatever the heck people tend to accuse her of doing to women that’s so wrong by creating Bella’s character. 

Beau worked really well as a guy who fell for a vampire girl and took care of the cooking in his household because he enjoyed it and not because he was a girl and her place was in the kitchen. I totally believed that I was reading a character who was supposed to be guy, even with the occasional internal monologues and awkwardness. I never imagined Bella as a guy, but it worked for me in this book in a way I didn’t expect. Edythe as the girl version of Edward also worked really well, surprisingly! I thought it would be tough with her super strength and protective tendencies which I’ve always associated more with male characters who are supposed to be dangerous, but it worked perfectly with her being a female vampire. She was a little eerie, but I could see how Beau would be drawn to that. In some ways, I feel like I liked Edythe better than Edward because she was so strong and quiet and totally badass and creepy in a more believable vampire way. Like I never believed Edward was dangerous, but Edythe? She might snap at any time and I believed her more when she kept trying to push Beau away for some reason. While I prefer Bella and Edward, I was down to root for Beau and Edythe. 

So why did I rate this 3 stars?

THE NAMES. OH GOD, THE NAMES. I feel like the author wrote this with the sole intention to prove that Renesmee was an amazing name and she could do a lot worse… by pulling out some of the most awful names ever. BEAU? EDYTHE? JESSAMINE? ROYAL?! EARNEST? ARCHIE? (In place of Bella, Edward, Jasper, Rosalie, Esme, Alice.) Omg. Ugh, can we just stop? Seriously, it was so off putting that I couldn’t even really picture the side characters anymore and just wanted to gag at the horrendous name swaps. UGH.

Which brings me to my next point…

I don’t feel like EVERYONE had to be gender swapped. It would’ve worked just as well had everyone except Bella and Edward swapped. She could’ve swapped Jacob just for the potential love triangle, but that’s seriously it. She could’ve had Jessica want to get with Beau instead of swapped every friend and Cullen in the entire book aside from Renee and Charlie. There really wasn’t a need to swap everyone and it just made it that much harder to get through the book. Not only was I reading awful names, but I was trying to match them up with whoever they were supposed to be and it distracted me from the main characters: Beau and Edythe. I would’ve preferred familiar characters with just the two characters swapping genders.

It wasn’t the best book and sort of redundant up until the end, so I can’t really give it much more than 3 stars to be fair, but I’m still glad I read it. I know fans wanted Midnight Sun and there’s another set up fans ready to riot over the lack of sequels to The Host, but I respected Meyer’s decision to write this and send the message that it can be done. And as much as I would’ve preferred maybe a different vampire romance with a human guy and vampire girl, the fact that’s is a complete gender swap does give it a certain OOMPH that shouts to the world that Bella can be a guy in the same exact story that is almost verbatim and it still works. So, there.

Star 3

 

Review – Their Fractured Light (Starbound #3) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Their Fractured Light

By Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

SummaryA year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.

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Source: I purchased a paperback

Review:

I loved Their Fractured Light. It’s been a few years since I’ve read the first two in the trilogy, so I was concerned about how much I would be able to keep up, but it was fine. Their Fractured Light introduced new characters Sofia and Gideon and the main focus in the beginning was on both of them. They referred to the broadcast from Avon and there was mention of the shipwreck involving Lilac LaRoux, so there were enough references to get me back up to speed without having to reread the rest of the books again. I liked that each book in the trilogy focused on different people’s POV’s because it gave me different perspectives, which was important to the ending of the story. 

I enjoyed the Starbound trilogy quite a bit. The setting was perfect, as science fiction isn’t nearly as populated with books in YA as fantasy. The romances in each book had characters I wanted to root for and were unique in their own ways. I loved that the series was adventurous and mysterious, while also being beautifully written. The relationships between the characters were seemingly unrelated, but the finale brought everyone full circle. Their Fractured Light took a few plots set in the same universe and brought them together for a tremendous ending. All in all, it was a story of humanity, courage, love, and triumphing over greed. 

I highly recommend the Starbound Trilogy. It’s a breath of fresh air in the YA science fiction genre and I love how all of the books were different from one another, but yet it was still clear that they were all a part of one story. 

Star 4

Review – By Your Side by Kasie West

 

By Your Side

By Kasie West

SummaryWhen Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side? 

Source: I purchased a kindle copy

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Review:

I enjoyed By Your Side. Like other Kasie West novels, it was a fun and short contemporary romance. I loved that it started out in a library and that it was a romance between two people who probably would’ve never crossed paths before. 

Autumn got stuck in a library when she ran into pee before going off with her friends for the weekend. Somehow, it seemed like she got lost in the shuffle because her friends didn’t come back for her. Dax, a guy from her high school ended up locked in the library, too, but he was a lot less freaked out and also had an overnight bag with him. Autumn didn’t know him very well, but just heard rumors about how he was trouble. 

Autumn had anxiety, but none of her friends knew. She was constantly thrown into crazy scenarios and parties with her friends and she found herself escaping to a quiet corner when she could. Probably how she ended up locked in the library without her friends looking for her. They were used to losing track of her. Dax, while he wasn’t very talkative or friendly, didn’t seem to mind that she had anxiety and was freaking out about being trapped in the library. He seemed to know exactly how to talk to her.

I loved By Your Side because it was all about not judging books by their covers and learning to be honest with yourself and your friends.

Star 4

Review – Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee Ahdieh

 

Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1)

By Renee Ahdieh

SummaryThe only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.


Source: I borrowed a Kindle copy from my local library

Review:

Flame in the Mist has been compared to Mulan, but it takes place in Japan, not China, and aside from the girl dressing as a boy to fit into a group of boys, it’s an entirely different plot. It was clear that the author did her research while creating the setting and it was a gorgeous story full of magic and adventure that was rich in Japanese folklore and history. In many ways, her writing shined.

I enjoyed Flame in the Mist, but it was not without flaws. One of the biggest flaws was Mariko herself. She didn’t really do anything or have much of a purpose aside from a few scenes when she stood out as something more. Yet, throughout the story, we are constantly told how she’s so smart and ingenious. It was frustrating because she felt very much like a spectator. Every other character was so well fleshed out and interesting, but Mariko’s character felt flat.

I really enjoyed the plot. I even enjoyed the romance, though it seems it was hit or miss for many reviewers. I liked that it wasn’t the main focus, too. I also enjoyed the bigger conflict between the different groups. 

I wish the book had more of a focus, but I tend to blame Mariko because she never really admitted to herself about her intentions once she found the Black Clan and so the book sort of lost focus while she fit in with them. I was also a little disappointed by the amount of telling vs showing in the book. I didn’t get that sense at all from her other series, so I can’t help but feel that, if I’m comparing them, this book falls short of my expectations. It’s not nearly as good as The Wrath and the Dawn, but it was good and I’d continue reading, but I’m glad I didn’t buy the hardcover. 

Star 3

Review – Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker

 

Until It Fades

By K.A. Tucker

Summary: “Tucker is adept at spinning stories with hot romance, unexpected twists and turns, and a strong, independent female lead who is not afraid to take charge, who is not perfect—which is why she feels so real.” —Toronto Star

Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania (population three thousand outside of tourist season). And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed date, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has rescued: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.
Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works. For a time. But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. There’s an immediate connection, and it’s more electric than the bond of two people who endured a traumatic event. It’s something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something she is afraid to trust.
Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine…before the spark fades?

Source: I preordered a Kindle copy

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Review:

K.A. Tucker is one of my favorite contemporary romance authors, so of course I was eagerly awaiting her latest novel. I wasn’t as big of a fan of her last book, He Will Be My Ruin, mostly because it’s hard to bridge the gap between romance and thrillers when I read both and have really high expectations. But Until It Fades was firmly in romance territory, complete with the conflicted heroine with a tough past. Tucker always does an amazing job at creating characters and giving them conflicts and backstories that complicate things in a believable way. Until It Fades was no exception. It was great!

I didn’t read the synopsis because Tucker is an auto-buy author of mine, so I started the book feeling a little hesitant. If there’s one thing I really can’t stand, it’s teacher-student relationships (but I do excuse a few books from this issue because they are so good.) My stomach dropped in the beginning because I really wasn’t in the mood, but fortunately, it wasn’t one of those books. While Catherine’s past did impact her future, the book was not about that particular relationship and was instead focused on her overcoming and finding her place in her judgmental town years after the affair.

I love K.A. Tucker. She creates such amazing characters. This book could’ve totally been another awful NA romance with some hunky sports player with bigger muscles than brains and a heroine falling all over herself over someone famous, but it was nowhere near being one of those novels. Every time I read one of Tucker’s books, I can’t help but want to jump up and down and scream, THIS IS WHAT I WANT IN A NEW ADULT NOVEL! It’s not afraid to talk about the adult things, but it’s not smutty and ridiculous. Her books have depth to them even if hinted romance in the synopsis sounds like it could be a trope filled novel. 

While Catherine had somewhat of a broken past, I have to admit, Until It Fades was definitely one of her “fluffier” books. There wasn’t any of that darkness that Ten Tiny Breaths and the Burying Water series both have. But for the New Adult category, it’s not at all fluffy. 

I highly recommend Until It Fades. I flew through the book and I enjoyed every minute!

Star 4