ARC Review: “The Forever Song” by Julie Kagawa

The Forever SongThe Forever Song (The Blood of Eden #3) by Julie Kagawa

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Vengeance will be hers.

Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.

Monster.

Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions – her creator Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost – the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie. 

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, her triumph will be short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.

THE FINAL HUNT IS ON.

4 stars

Thanks to NetGalley and HarlequinTeen for this eARC! This title is now available.

WARNING: This review will have spoilers for the first two books. If you’re interested in the series, check out my reviews of The Immortal Rules (#1) and The Eternity Cure (#2)!

So if you read my reviews of the first two books, you know that I was completely blown away by the first one and fairly underwhelmed by the second one. Rather predictably, the final installment was right in between those two feelings.

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ARC Review: “Countdown” by Michelle Rowen

CountdownCountdown by Michelle Rowen

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3 seconds left to live. Once the countdown starts, it cannot be stopped. 

2 pawns thrown into a brutal underground reality game. 

Kira Jordan survived her family’s murder and months on plague-devastated city streets with hard-won savvy and a low-level psi ability. She figures she can handle anything. Until she wakes up in a barren room, chained next to the notorious Rogan Ellis. 

1 reason Kira will never, ever trust Rogan. Even though both their lives depend on it. 

Their every move is controlled and televised for a vicious exclusive audience. And as Kira’s psi skill unexpectedly grows and Rogan’s secrets prove evermore deadly, Kira’s only chance of survival is to risk trusting him as much as her instincts. Even if that means running head-on into the one trap she can’t escape. 

GAME OVER

3 stars

Thanks to Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for this eARC! This book will be released on September 24th, 2013.

I basically only ended up with this book because I’m auto-approved for Harlequin Teen titles, and few of them have ever disappointed me. I came into the book with no expectations, which ended up being a good thing. A little while ago I read a book called Nerve by Jeanne Ryan, and I thought that was what this was going to be like as well. It was a lot like Nerve: fast paced, twisty and action packed. But then there was that shoehorned love story that made me want to headdesk.

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ARC Review: “Indelible” by Dawn Metcalf

IndelibleIndelible (The Twixt #1) by Dawn Metcalf

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Some things are permanent.

Indelible.

And they cannot be changed back.

Joy Malone learns this the night she sees a stranger with all-black eyes across a crowded room—right before the mystery boy tries to cut out her eye. Instead, the wound accidentally marks her as property of Indelible Ink, and this dangerous mistake thrusts Joy into an incomprehensible world—a world of monsters at the window, glowing girls on the doorstep, and a life that will never be the same.

Now, Joy must pretend to be Ink’s chosen one—his helper, his love, his something for the foreseeable future…and failure to be convincing means a painful death for them both. Swept into a world of monsters, illusion, immortal honor and revenge, Joy discovers that sometimes, there are no mistakes.

Somewhere between reality and myth lies…

THE TWIXT

Four and a half stars

Thanks to NetGalley and HarlequinTeen for this eARC! This title will be released on July 30th.

At about the same time, I requested and received Ink by Amanda Sun and Indelible. Both of them had similar tones, and I was excited about each for different ways. I read Ink first, because I was more excited about that one at the time. The experience went very badly, as you know if you saw my post. Needless to say, I was terrified of starting Indelible because I didn’t think it would go well either. Boy, was I surprised.

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ARC Review: “Dare You To” by Katie McGarry

Dare to uDare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry

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If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk’s home life, they’d send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom’s freedom and her own happiness. That’s how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn’t want her and going to a school that doesn’t understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn’t get her, but does….

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can’t tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn’t be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won’t let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all….

4 stars

Thanks to HarlequinTeen and NetGalley for this eARC! This title is now available.

In the beginning I accepted one thing. I knew that I could in no way love this book as much as I loved Pushing the Limits. But I had faith in Katie McGarry to come through and write something that would rip at my heartstrings. Thank God I had so much faith, or I might not have made it past the first part of the book.

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ARC Review: “The Eternity Cure” by Julie Kagawa

The Enternity CureThe Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2) by Julie Kagawa

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Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.

3 1/2 stars

Thanks to NetGalley and HarlequinTeen for this eARC! This title is now available.

WARNING: There WILL be spoilers for the first book! Check out my review of The Immortal Rules if you’re interested!

I went into this book knowing that nothing could be as good as the first book in this series. This is because, a, I went into a complete flail attack over The Immortal Rules and, b, second book syndrome is so rampant lately that I just couldn’t get my hopes up. So I guess,  in that way, I got exactly what I expected.

The book picks up with Allie having just been kicked out of Eden, on her way to finding Kanin. It takes a little while for it to get started, what with her just roaming the countryside and all that. Her nighttime visions of Kanin are seriously creepy, and keep the stakes up while Allie attacks dingy bars and skulks around “Old D.C.” Instead of finding Kanin, however, she first finds her old nemesis, Jackal. He has a proposition of friendship for her–and if she doesn’t accept, he’ll kill her.

Again, this book takes a little while to get started, but once the character of Jackal is introduced all is forgiven. I don’t understand how I can love him so much after what he did in the first book, but his comic relief and sarcastic personality is just the greatest thing ever. At the same time, though, he acts as a great foil for Allie’s continuing struggle with what it means to be a monster. I thought Jackal was the funniest thing ever and loved him, but I never totally trusted him not to go killing everything, and I was very impressed on how Kagawa wrote that balance.

I think my real problem with this book is that it seemed to be going backwards, both in terms of location and characters. At the end of The Immortal Rules, Allie had made it from New Covington to Eden, and the book ended with a fight with Jackal. This book starts with her leaving Eden, meeting Jackal, and then travelling with him to New Covington. The final showdown even takes place in the lab where Allie learned how to be a vampire in the first book.

Closer to the end, the characterization starts to get a little weird as well. Kanin, Allie and Jackal are extremely well done, but some other characters that crop back up seem to come back as weirdly different people. One of these people is Zeke, of course, though he is absent for the first part of the book as per the “middle book syndrome” formula. He’s similar to the Zeke from the first book, but also different, in ways that are weird since he spent time being primped and pampered in Eden. Also, some of the plot twists later made with  his character pop up as “haha gotcha” half jokes clearly just shoehorned in for the sake of the plot. The character of Stick also pops back up, and his transformation is even more severe. Half of it I get, half of it I don’t, but either way his character leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I guess I’m just frustrated with how much of this seemed like filler. In the end, I’m not sure how much was accomplished besides making Sarren even angrier and establishing Jackal as a character. Granted, I enjoy Jackal very much, but still. And then there is the matter of the ending, which…grr. I don’t understand the point of making us think someone is dead if you’re going to reverse that in the next chapter, and make THAT the last chapter of the book. Where’s the cliffhanger there? It makes the next book a little more predictable, and I’m not entirely a fan of where I think it’s going.

All in all, I demoted this one a full star from what I rated it’s predecessor, but I still really think these books are worth a read. Despite my plot problems, Jackal made this book for me, and it was still an enjoyable read. I also have complete faith that Kagawa is going to get back to her blowing-me-away style in the next and last book. I know vampires are getting a bit passe, but these are still definitely on my recommendation list.

ARC Review: “Undeadly” by Michele Vail

Undeadly  (The Reaper Chronicles #1) by Michele Vail

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The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird…

Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper-and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she’s shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath. Who seems to hate her guts.

Rath will be watching closely to be sure she completes her first assignment-reaping Rick, the boy who should have died. The boy she still wants to be with. To make matters worse, students at the academy start turning up catatonic, and accusations fly-against Molly. The only way out of this mess? To go through hell. Literally.

4 stars

Thanks to Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for this eARC! This book will be released November 20th, 2012.

After so many fricking books that started with a prologue that happened later in the book, I was ready to DNF the next book that did that to me. (Hint: I really, really don’t like that.) When that happened with Undeadly, I slid down in my chair and cried for a while. Then I kept reading.

And reading and reading and reading.

I’ll be honest, technically–especially in the second half–this book probably rates more around 3 1/2 stars or something. But I’ll call it four because of the sheer “I’m having so much fun” factor.

Molly is my kind of girl. She acts tough, but she doesn’t pretend she doesn’t want a guy to notice her. She is also ridiculously snarky and sarcastic, which basically means I was meant to love her. Her first person narration made even dull moments seem fantastic. I was in love with her from the first second, and she basically kept me going when things started to get technically screwy.

But! Before that!

The world that Vail has created is amazing. Not only are zombies, ghosts and necromancers common place, but I love Molly’s bland observations about things that seem normal to her but are crazy to us. Even just her describing the backstory of her powers and the zombies everywhere is enjoyable to read. I’m usually not too forgiving of infodumps, but turns out I’ll forgive anything if someone tells me about it with the right amount of snark.

I also usually don’t forgive moving the story to an academy of any kind. I got over that with Harry Potter–and even JK Rowling got bored with it and moved Harry away from Hogwarts. Honestly, I still sorta don’t forgive it here because it was after that shift that things got weird. More on that later…

Other than Molly, the other characters weren’t particularly exciting, but they weren’t horribly bland either (most of them, anyways). The move to the academy introduced way more character than necessary that all seemed to want to be important that weren’t, and that’s…well…when things got weird.

I guess I should explain that.

Basically, after Molly hit Nekyia the story got really choppy. The characters became less rounded, there was way more of them then need be and the continuity started to make no sense. One second we’re here, then this is happening, then this and it was like trying to smash together puzzle pieces that didn’t fit. I still don’t get how or why some things happened. This is basically the sole reason I docked an entire star.

One more word for the wise: that blurb up there? I don’t know what book they’re talking about, but it really warps the storyline of the actual novel.

But anyways…

Yeah, the ending of the book was choppy, but I put up with it because MOLLY. Screw the semi-love triangle, Molly is way too good for that. Despite what Vail throws at her, she always has a comeback. Plus, the Ancient Egyptian mythology this is based on would have won me over any day besides. This book was basically a conglomeration of so many things I loved that I just passed over the choppy bits with a small note and waited for them to smooth down again.

And then Vail leaves the book ON A CLIFFHANGER. But that’s another story.

Do you like necromancy? Read this book. Do you like zombies? Read this book. Do you like books that aren’t romance heavy? Read this book. Do you like Egyptian mythology? Read this book.

READ THIS BOOK.

The second book in this series, Unchosen, will be released in 2013.

ARC Review: “Confessions of an Angry Girl” by Louise Rozett

Confessions of an Angry Girl (Confessions #1) by Louise Rozett

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Rose Zarelli, self-proclaimed word geek and angry girl, has some CONFESSIONS to make… #1: I’m livid all the time. Why? My dad died. My mom barely talks. My brother abandoned us. I think I’m allowed to be irate, don’t you?
#2: I make people furious regularly. Want an example? I kissed Jamie Forta, a badass guy who “might” be dating a cheerleader. She is now enraged and out for blood. Mine.
#3: High school might as well be Mars. My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the time. (Mars is red and “seeing red” means being angry-get it?)
Here are some other vocab words that describe my life: Inadequate. Insufferable. Intolerable.
(Don’t know what they mean? Look them up yourself.) (Sorry. That was rude.)

3 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and HarlequinTeen for allowing me to read this ARC! You guys can grab a copy August 28th, 2012!

When this book popped up on NetGalley, I had my reservations. I don’t usually read contemporary because I’m very cynical about them. Still, I read that synopsis right there and just HAD to request it, because the narrator felt like she had SO MUCH INTENSITY coming off of her words.

So imagine my surprise when Rose ended up being nothing like I thought she would be. In the beginning, Rose is HARDLY very angry. She’s very quiet and submissive, content to let her friends and others walk all over her. That annoyed me in itself, because I just hate when characters bow their heads and let everybody use them as punching bags. She comes off more whiny and know-it-all-ish than anything.

As the book went on, Rose’s character got better. However, for the most part the huge supporting cast was a whole bunch of clichés. I wasn’t even sure why some of those characters, like Robert, even existed. You had your cheerleaders and you had your cliché high school jocks and jerks. Not much uniqueness in that scenario.

I think my biggest problem with this book was that I was never sure what the plot of the book was. Usually there is some sort of goal laid out or something, but the book just keeps rolling on and on with no real endgame in mind. Sure, that meant I had no idea what was going to happen, but I also never felt like I knew what the point was of anything going on.

So why all the way up with 3 stars, then? Because of Rose. No, she was never what I thought she was going to be, but she was…something else. Honestly, Rose could have been me at fourteen. The things she said, the way she said them–I literally remembered saying and thinking those things at that age. (Hey, it was only four years ago, I’m not that old yet!) I really, deeply connected with her, and that made the whole book for me.

Still, I also take issue with that ending. Just when things are really revving up to be good and Rose is coming into her own like whoa (and things are getting interesting with Jamie, for real!), Rozett goes and ENDS IT ON THAT CLIFFHANGER. I died a little bit inside. There are cliffhangers, and then there are cliffhangers. I really wanted to see Regina–the “cheer-witch” who was making Rose’s life horrible–get what was coming to her. Next book, maybe?

Overall, I liked Confessions of an Angry Girl. I didn’t desperately love it, but it was a fun way to pass a few hours, remembering my own freshman years. I know contemporaries are touted for their romance elements, but I’d call this one more of a coming of age than anything else. Personally, that was where the writing really shone for me.

The next book in this series, Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend, is scheduled to be released in 2013.