Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #1
Publisher: Razorbill on August 16, 2007
Format: Paperback, 332 pages
Snarky, sexy and fun. A promising start to the series.
Snarky, sexy and fun. A promising start to the series.
Steamy, sexy and romantic, this novel has everything I’m looking for in a New Adult romance.
If you play with fire…
Tossed out of college and cut off by her parents, Samantha West is in pretty dire straits. So when her rocker best friend hooks her up with a job dancing at a gentlemen’s club, who is she to turn it down? Plus, there are rules to dancing at Benny’s: No touching, keep your clothes on at all times, and never get closer than three feet. Unfortunately for Sam, her first private client makes her want to break every single one of them.
Harrison Yates is scorching hot, but he’s got a past that involves being left at the altar not too long ago. Sam is determined to make him forget about his ex, but when she makes her move, it flings her life into a spiral of chaos she never saw coming.
Because Harrison Yates isn’t who he seems to be. And his secret will probably get her killed.
Sam is having a shitty month. She got kicked out of school for skipping classes, her mother kicked her out of the house and she’s no longer welcome at the friend’s house she was staying at. She turns to ex-lover and close friend Jonathan, who lets her crash on his couch and gets her a job as an exotic dancer at a club.
I can’t say a lot about this book without revealing any spoilers, so this will probably be a short review, but I’ll try to hit the highlights.
I loved this book even more than the first one in the series (which I absolutely adored). The characters were wonderful and full of quirks and subtle little personality traits that made them feel real. Sam was bull-headed but also a little broken. She felt like she had almost nobody left she could trust, but she was grateful for Jonathan. She wasn’t crazy about becoming a dancer, but she knew she needed a job to get off of his couch.
Speaking of Jonathan, I loved him to pieces. He was a total horndog, making out with everyone he could, while trying to stay faithful to his girlfriend. He was honest and sweet and you could tell he really cared about the people in his life. Harrison was definitely hiding a lot from Sam, but he was a decent guy who cared. He made mistakes, but he owned them.
The plot was predictable; I knew everything that was coming and wasn’t surprised once. But, the characters and the writing more than made up for that. I read this in one day, and it’s been a long time since I’ve done that. I was drawn to the characters and wanted to know what their next step would be, how they would face the consequences of their actions, how they would handle each setback. And for the love of pete, I needed to keep reading so I would know when they finally did the deed! It took FOREVER. Talk about sexual tension. This book was full of it.
The sexy times were graphic, but not nearly as explicit as other books I’ve read recently. It was actually kind of a nice relief. There’s only so many times I can read different words for genitalia without rolling my eyes.
This book is part of a series, but it can definitely be read as a standalone. The characters from the previous books made an appearance, and we learned how they’re doing. It was nice to get a little update from the previous couples. Of the three books in this series, this one is my favorite, and I highly recommend it. I hope Lisa Desrochers comes out with more New Adult books soon, because she’s been added to my auto-buy author list.
Lisa Desrochers is the USA Today bestselling author of A LITTLE TOO FAR , courtesy of HarperCollins, and companions, A LITTLE TOO MUCH (Nov 12, 2013), and A LITTLE TOO HOT (Jan 21, 2014). Also in stores is her YA PERSONAL DEMONS trilogy (Macmillan).
She lives in central California with her husband and two very busy daughters. There is never a time that she can be found without a book in her hand, and she adores stories that take her to new places, and then take her by surprise.
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This is a solid follow-up to Splintered. I really enjoyed it, and it left me eager for the next book in the series.
Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she’s always dreamed of.
That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.
As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.
If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she’ll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.
Alyssa is glad to be back to her normal life. Her mom is home from the asylum, and even though she’s gone overboard on the mothering thing, Alyssa’s still glad to have her back. She and Jeb are getting along great, and he’s forgotten all about Wonderland and everything that happened there. When Morpheus starts appearing, telling Alyssa she must come back to Wonderland and defeat Queen Red once and for all, it’s annoying at first. But then he gets more insistent, and signs of Queen Red start appearing in the human world.
I liked the growth that Alyssa showed from the previous book, with her mother, Jeb and even Morpheus. She has become stronger and more secure in herself, and what she wants. Jeb was just your average nice guy, but he was ignorant of Wonderland, so it’s hard to hold that against him. He did the best he could with Alyssa, without knowing her whole story. Luckily he had the chance to flex his personality quite a bit in the second half of the story, and I liked seeing that new aspect in him. Morpheus again appeared selfish, but you could see how he really cared for his world. He didn’t want anything to happen to it, or the creatures in it.
There was more romance in this book than the previous one. I struggled to find the chemistry between Jeb and Alyssa, though there was one particular scene near the end that was so fantastic, I might even suggest you read the book just for it. I’ve never been a fan of Morpheus as a romantic interest for Alyssa, but we learned more about him in the book, and some of the reasons behind his motivations. And if you’re a fan of the love triangle, you’ll be pleased with this one.
Howard continues with her gift of making even the craziest scene or setting so realistic, they’re easy to picture. The blood artwork, the spider-like Queen Red, the bony Rabid White, the talking flowers, all of it is rendered so descriptively, it’s amazing. The scary scenes are very scary, and I may have even gasped a time or two.
A.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. Her pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.
Her debut YA fantasy, SPLINTERED, a dark Alice in Wonderland spinoff, is now available from Amulet Books. The sequel, UNHINGED, is due to launch January 2014.
Beautiful, wild-child Nicole Tepper is hit by a car and left for dead. But when she wakes the next morning, Nicole finds herself in bed without a scratch. Perhaps she was more intoxicated than usual, as her mother is giving her the silent treatment and her friends are ignoring her as well.
Things take a turn for the weird when Nicole soon discovers she is actually hovering between life and death. Her body is lying in the forest while her spirit is searching for anyone who can hear her. Unfortunately the only person who can is Dale Finnigan, the guy she publicly humiliated with a sharp-tongued insult that has left him branded.
Desperate, Nicole has no choice but to haunt Dale and convince the freaked-out senior to help her. Will he find her body before it’s too late? Or will the guy who tried to kill her with his car, beat him there and finish her off before anyone finds out?
Mean girl Nicole is actually mean to cover the pain from an incident a few years ago that left her sister dead. Instead of feeling the pain, she lashes out at everyone around her, including her parents. After insulting the scarred Dale in front of their classmates, she ends up getting hit by a car while walking home alone after a party. And wouldn’t you know, Dale’s the only one who can hear Nicole’s pleas for help. Can they work together to find Nicole’s body before she fades away for good?
Nicole wasn’t an especially likable character. She was going through something awful, carrying around the guilt of her little sister’s death, but she was so mean to everyone around her. Her parents already lost one child, and Nicole was making it darn near impossible for them to like her. Plus she was mean to the kids at her school, acting like the typical queen bee. Dale, on the other hand, was a great guy. He was kind, gentle and, lucky for Nicole, not at all spiteful.
Nicole’s boyfriend was a douchecanoe, the perfect companion to her mean girl. And her friends were just as mean, as demonstrated by their lack of concern after she went missing. Which Nicole witnessed, thanks to her ghostly presence. Really, Dale was the only likable character in the book.
There was tension, as Nicole tried to figure out where her body was and if she would even be able to stay alive until Dale could find her, and mystery as we wondered who hit her and if they would be able to finish the job.
The dialogue was a touch on the unbelievable side for me. I don’t think I can put my finger on it, but it didn’t ring as authentic to me. There was one thing that especially bothered me (slight spoiler): View Spoiler »Even though Nicole was freezing, hungry, dehydrated and possibly bleeding to death, Dale stopped looking for her so he could get a good night’s rest. I’m sorry, but if I knew someone was laying in a forest somewhere dying, I would have stayed out all night looking for them, even if it was a bitch like Nicole. « Hide Spoiler The writing also seemed to lack something, maybe that little extra thing that makes the story come alive. The basics are there, but the story could use a little polish.
While definitely enjoyable, it lacked a little something and had some plausibility issues.
Melissa Pearl was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but has spent much of her life abroad, living in countries such as Jordan, Cyprus and Pakistan… not to mention a nine month road trip around North America with her husband. “Best. Year. Ever!!” She now lives in China with her husband and two sons. She is a trained elementary teacher, but writing is her passion. Since becoming a full time mother she has had the opportunity to pursue this dream and her debut novel hit the internet in November, 2011. Since then she has produced three more books with her fifth novel, Betwixt, due out in November 2012.
“I am passionate about writing. It stirs a fire in my soul that I never knew I had. I want to be the best writer I can possibly be and transport my readers into another world where they can laugh, cry and fall in love.”
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In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.
Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.
Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.
Sloane lives sometime in the near future when science has declared teen suicide an epidemic. Luckily, science has found a cure – The Program. Kids who show signs of depression can be forcibly admitted into The Program. Once the kids come out, they’re happy and without care. But they also can’t remember things from their past, even their friends. Sloane, who has already lost her brother to suicide, spends all her time with her boyfriend James, who was her brother’s best friend. The two of them are just trying to stay “happy” until they turn 18 and are no longer eligible for The Program.
Sloane was an amazingly strong female lead character. She knew she had to remain stoic, but it was hard for her; not only was she still upset from her brother’s suicide, she was scared of being taken away. She had James to lean on, but only in private, when nobody else was around. He was also strong; not only was he carrying guilt for not having saved his best friend, but he had made it his personal mission to take care of Sloane and their small circle of friends. That’s a lot of weight on such young shoulders.
There were other characters: friends, classmates, doctors and her parents, who added their own thing to the book. There were a few special ones whom I can’t call out specifically for fear of spoilers, but I will say I enjoyed them all (except for the really bad guy). There were some sexy times, but it was not at all graphic. Boo.
The story was incredibly suspenseful. The tension was just amped up over and over until I didn’t think I could take it anymore. The kids were afraid to show any emotion at all, and you know keeping it inside wasn’t any good for them at all. They couldn’t have a bad day or get in a simple argument without fear. Every time they saw a handler from The Program, they were scared to death that they were next. And since they knew what would happen, some felt suicide was the better option.
In the beginning, I wondered why parents would voluntarily send their kids away to a place like that, I just knew that Sloane’s parents were going to be there for her and let her be unhappy, at least in the home. But no, they were pro-Program. And after a while, I could almost see it. If you had already lost 1 child to suicide, wouldn’t you do basically anything to keep from losing the other one, even if it made them unhappy?
I just went from reviewing the book to discussing the ethics of The Program, so let me get back to the former.
I can’t imagine how it would feel to be in the situation these kids were in, but thanks to Suzanne Young, I absolutely felt the terror and fear Sloane, James and their friends did. Young created a not-too-distant place where a government-mandated non-voluntary treatment for suicide prevention was totally believable. I was caught up in the story and lost myself in it many times. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the sign of an excellent writer.
I was left with a few unanswered questions, and though I think this was originally going to be a standalone, I was very pleased to find out that a sequel is due next year.
Believably realistic and surprisingly romantic, this is an excellent entry in the dystopian genre. I can’t wait to see what happens in the follow up.
Originally from New York, Suzanne Young moved to Arizona to pursue her dream of not freezing to death. She currently resides in Tempe, where she teaches high school English. When not writing obsessively, Suzanne can be found searching her own tragic memories for inspiration.
LOVE WILL KILL US ALL
Violet Eden thought she was getting things under control. Then all hell breaks loose—literally. In the war between angels and exiles, she’s about to face the biggest baddie of all time. Except she’s not nearly ready.
The dark exile Phoenix is still messing with her head—not to mention her heart. And her undeniable attraction to Lincoln has gotten downright dangerous. When Hell unleashes its worst, Violet must embrace every facet of her angel self to save the people she cares about and the world as she knows it. But death is not the worst thing she will face…
Endless picks up shortly after the conclusion of Emblaze, with Violet’s mother back from the dead, her dad unconscious (from a punch to the face by her mother!) and Lincoln having finally admitted he cares for her. Of course, it’s not all chocolate and roses now. The bad guys have just resurrected the baddest of them all for an as-yet-unknown evil plan, Phoenix still has a mental hold over Violet and The Academy has taken a strong interest in Violet and her fellow Grigori.
I really loved all the characters in this book. Violet was even stronger this go-round. Not only could she kick ass and take names, but she could handle disappointments and just generally rise above the petty stuff that would have upset her in the past. Lincoln was finally over the whole secretive crap and totally upfront about his feelings, which was a nice change of pace. We learned a lot more about Phoenix and got to see his personality, emotions and the reasons behind his behaviors. And dare I say, I actually felt sorry for him by the time all was said and done.
We got to know Violet’s dad and mom, plus witness their interactions with each other. (Remember, until now, he thought she was dead.) Unfortunately, they didn’t have a lot of time to get to rehash the past and do some explaining; a Grigori’s work is never done. Violet’s bestie, Steph, was back and again playing a part in the story. Onyx was still there, causing trouble wherever he could, and Dapper, trying hard to avoid it. There were a lot of new characters involved, especially as Violet and the gang spent an extended period of time in the Grigori Academy. Speaking of the Academy, Violet took some classes about the history of the Grigori, but sadly we weren’t privy to what she learned. I would have liked to know more.
Violet and Lincoln had amazing chemistry, made all the more poignant by the fact that they were soul mates who couldn’t be together. If they were to truly be together (i.e. get it on), it would have joined their souls forever. Then, if one were to die, the other’s soul would literally shatter. So in order to protect the other, they both agreed to hold off on the sexy times. You can imagine all the lip biting sexual tension that might ensue.
The dialogue was just as ironic as the previous books. Violet had a tendency to get a little snarky when the mood struck her. And Lincoln was getting better at responding in kind. Phoenix still liked to say exactly what he knew would rile someone up. All of it added up to highly entertaining conversations.
Jessica Shirvington creates wonderful fantasy worlds that exist within our own world. The mythology, language, even the buildings people visit, were vividly described and I could picture it all. The fights were exciting, the sexy times were very sexy (though not too graphic), the sarcasm was funny and the sad parts made me tear up.
The end of the book finished with not quite a cliffhnager, but not quite a resolution. Somewhere in between. I am anxious to pick up the final book [DON'T click that link unless you've already read books 1-4.] and see how everything shakes out.
This is my favorite book of the series and I don’t see how the final one can top it. But I’ll be first in line to find out!
Jessica Shirvington is the author of THE VIOLET EDEN CHAPTERS also known as THE EMBRACE SERIES, and stand alone novel, BETWEEN THE LIVES. An entrepreneur, author, and mother living in Sydney, Australia, Jessica is also a 2011 finalist for Cosmopolitan’s annual Fun, Fearless Female Award. She’s also one of the lucky few who met the love of her life at age seventeen: Matt Shirvington, a former Olympian and current sports broadcaster for FOXTEL and Sky News. Married for twelve years with two beautiful daughters, Sienna and Winter, Jessica knows her early age romance and its longevity has definitely contributed to how she tackles relationships in her YA novels.
Dante has a shiny new cuff wrapped around his ankle, and he doesn’t like that mess one bit. His new accessory comes straight from Big Guy himself and marks the former demon as a liberator. Despite his gritty past and bad boy ways, Dante Walker has been granted a second chance.
When Dante is given his first mission as a liberator to save the soul of seventeen-year-old Aspen, he knows he’s got this. But Aspen reminds him of the rebellious life he used to live and is making it difficult to resist sinful temptations. Though Dante is committed to living clean for his girlfriend Charlie, this dude’s been a playboy for far too long…and old demons die hard.
With Charlie becoming the girl she was never able to be pre-makeover and Aspen showing him how delicious it feels to embrace his inner beast, Dante will have to go somewhere he never thought he’d return to in order to accomplish the impossible: save the girl he’s been assigned to, and keep the girl he loves.
Oh, Dante. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. You’re a badass, you’re an undercover softy, you’re crazy protective of your friends, girlfriend and even her friends and family, you’re sexy and you know it, you know how to party, you dress to impress, you appreciate the finer things in life, you’re a sarcastic smartass, you have a secretly tortured soul, you’re head over heels in love with a good girl. Oh, and you’re a totes hottie.
I absolutely LOVED Dante in The Collector, and he made me fall for him even more in this one. He was still the same guy, just in love. And while the sappiness was a little overwhelming at times (find your balls already, Dante), he still had the same basic attitude about him. Even with the cuff that meant he had to save souls instead of stealing them, he still felt like the demon he used to be. That created serious conflicts of interest for him, which was where the tension between he and Charlie mostly came from.
Charlie was back and just as good as ever. She’d grown up a bit and was more mature, which I liked. She had much more on her shoulders, what with being the one who will bring 100 years of peace to the world and all. Annabelle was back and just as sassy as before. She had more of a presence in this story, though it was mostly comic relief and to rein in Charlie when needed.
Aspen, truly the focus of the novel, had some serious issues, and she had a helluva wall up, preventing anyone from getting too close. It was so nice to see Dante get close to Aspen and become her friend. What Aspen needed was a true friend, and Dante was that for her. (For those of you worried about a love triangle with the new female, don’t be. Victoria herself announced that wasn’t where they were headed. I was glad to hear that. I like a good triangle, but Dante belongs with Charlie.) All of the same supporting characters were back, and a few new faces popped up.
There was a lot of action in this one, both actual fighting and in the training room. There were a ton of tense moments and once or twice I just knew it was going to end badly.
There was some lovin’ going on, but it was romantic and sweet without anything graphic. It might have been nice, though, to have some sexy time details with Dante… Just sayin’.
There were unanswered questions, which was frustrating, but Victoria Scott writes crazy fast, so hopefully it won’t be too long before we find out the answers. The ending was a quasi-cliffhanger; enough to make you worried, but not enough to drive you crazy. A nice compromise.
I can be specific and continue to point out all the great and wonderful things about Dante and this book, but I’m going to stop here and just say this: READ THE BOOKS.
Sexy bad boy tries to mend his ways. Good times ensue.
Victoria Scott is a teen fiction writer represented by Sara Crowe. She’s the author of THE COLLECTOR trilogy (Entangled Teen) and the FIRE & FLOOD series (Scholastic). Victoria lives in Dallas with her husband and hearts cotton candy something fierce.
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Author: Teri Terry
Publisher: January 24th 2013 by Nancy Paulsen Books
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages
Source: Book Divas
Series: Slated | Fractured
Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost forever.
She’s been Slated.
The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance – as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?
In the U.K. in the near future, teens who have been convicted of crimes can be slated, or have their brains wiped. They forget everything about their past: who they were, their personalities, their families, everything. They literally become blank slates. They are then placed with new families who raise them as their own. The slated are like toddlers, just learning about the world and their place in it. To help with the transition, those who have been slated wear bracelets that monitor their brain activity. If they get too sad, angry or aggressive, their bracelets alert the wearer so the offending behavior can be fixed.
This book turned out so differently than I was expecting from the start. At first, the writing bothered me a bit; there was a serious lack of contractions. It was weird, a conversation would be going along fine, then someone would say something like “It is obvious” or “It is fine.” It was kind of jarring and I just knew it would ruin the story for me. But then I really got into it and soon I didn’t even see those little annoyances anymore. Let me assure you, this is a fantastic book.
When I started the book, I wondered why Kyla was so compliant about the slating situation. Where were her parents and why didn’t she wonder the same thing? How could she just go to a new family and act like it was no big deal? What happened if she didn’t fit in? Though these questions were answered eventually, they were slow in coming. There was no big info-dump in the beginning, I just had to read along and wait for the information to be revealed.
I really enjoyed all the characters. It’s hard for me to describe them, though, without revealing some secrets. One of the best things about the book is how I never knew who was trustworthy and who wasn’t. Someone who was a stereotypical bad guy could be secretly good and someone who appeared so good you knew they must be evil, may actually be good. Truly, I never knew what to think about them, and I absolutely loved that.
There wasn’t a lot of action, as far as fight scenes or chases, but there were a ton of tense moments, and Teri Terry really knows how to write them. They were subtle and gripping and I literally held my breath many times throughout the story. Sometimes it was as simple as 2 people having a conversation, but it was written in such a way that you could literally feel the uneasiness between them, even if one of them didn’t.
Finally, the ending frustrated me because it didn’t feel like an ending. It wasn’t that it was a cliffhanger, it just… ended. Almost like Teri Terry had to edit the book down in size, so she just opened a page, pointed and said “Here. Here’s where it will end.” Of course, that just makes me anxious for the next one, so maybe she did it on purpose!
I loved every bit of it and can’t wait for the next one.
This book review originally appeared on BookDivas.com