Book Review: Speak of the Devil

cover-review-speak of the devilTitle: Speak of the Devil [Speak of the Devil 1]

Author: Shawna Romkey

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

What happens when falling in love and falling from grace collide?

After dying in a car accident with her two best friends, Lily miraculously awakens to grief and guilt. She escapes to her dad’s to come to terms with the crash and meets some people at her new school who seem all too eager to help her heal. Sliding deeper into sorrow and trying to fight her feelings for two of them, she discovers who…what they really are and learns they are falling too.

Can she find the strength to move on from the past, reconcile her feelings for Luc, figure out how to stop a divine war with fallen angels, and still pass the eleventh grade?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Speak of the Devil by Shawna Romkey was a fast-paced intriguing twist on the battle between good and evil. The writing was clear and easy to follow, the characters were interesting, and the plot was fresh and entertaining.

All that being said, the book wasn’t all rainbows. There was some very serious subject matter handled in this book and it may be a bit triggering to some. The main character deals with the death of her friends, depression, and thoughts of suicide. There is a brief scene of a near-sexual assault. However, I do think that the author handled these well. They weren’t egregious or used to spur on drama. A lot of care was taken to put the reader in the main character’s mind so we could understand her feelings. It never got whiney or over-dramatic.

Overall, I enjoyed how this book was handled and I found it both interesting and entertaining. It isn’t going to be for everyone – as it deals with some heavy subject matter – but if you enjoy good vs. evil YA fiction, I recommend you give it a try.

Book Review: Apparition

cover-review-apparitionTitle: Apparition [The Apparition Trilogy 1]

Author: Dylan White

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Fantasy

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Jade Foster just moved to a new city with her mother and step-dad in the middle of her senior year. She doesn’t know anyone. She has a midterm on Monday. And her house is haunted.

Sean Clayton died at eighteen almost seventy years ago. He believes Jade is the one who can help him finally move on. But his connection to Jade exposes her to dark forces from the afterlife. Despite the danger, Sean promises to protect her.

But falling in love with her might be the scariest thing he could do …

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Giving a star rating to Apparition by Dylan White is hard to do. On the one hand, I was intrigued by the story. I liked the main character, and though perhaps not the most thorough of world-building, I did enjoy the overall concept.

Not all was puppies and rainbows, however.

There weren’t a lot of typos or errors, but there were some obvious ones that should have been caught by an editor. The narrative style was sloppy and confusing at times as the author bounced back and forth between the many characters, often within the same chapter. The voice was third person omnipresent – which meant that the story felt like we were hearing it second hand through an impartial observer. At times the author took too much time stepping aside from the story to give the reader context through asides instead of letting the reader figure things out on their own. The style reminded me more of a middle grade or children’s fiction than a Young Adult book.

Basically, the narrative voice nearly wrecked the story for me. I almost put the book down in the first 15 minutes. Luckily, the story pulled through.

Overall, it was an okay book. Though I hated the narrative style and voice, I enjoyed the story and the characters. I may go on to read further in the series. Maybe.

Book Review: The Haunted

cover-review-the hauntedTitle: The Haunted [Sleeping With Monsters 1]

Author: Cassie Alexander

Genre: Paranormal, Erotica, BDSM, Romance, Horror

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Daphne Vance’s life is perfect — she’s a beautiful, devoted wife, and her husband has just bought her a vast countryside estate to start their family in.

But when her husband leaves on a business trip, it doesn’t feel like she’s alone in the mansion — she can feel eyes watching her, and hot hands trailing up her thighs. The domineering spirit of the mansion’s former owner is still present — and when she discovers her husband cheating on her, she doesn’t want to resist the Master anymore….

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I quibbled with myself for a little while before I came up with an appropriate rating for The Haunted by Cassie Alexander. Some people aren’t going to like it. It is a niche of dark fantasy erotica that isn’t going to appeal to everyone. It is dark, sexy, terrifying, and at times very graphic. If those things don’t appeal to you, you’re probably going to want to pass this one up.

The story was incredibly steamy, a bit taboo at times, and not always easy to understand. The main character, Daphne, makes a lot of questionable decisions as to her safety and her own happiness. She gives in to a very dark temptation, and it takes her on a lustful journey with an unseen force – and she isn’t always sure what its motives are. Sometimes the ghost that haunts her seems tender and kind. Sometimes it is jealous and possessive. Sometimes it is downright murderous.

All of that aside, and personal tastes aside, the book is well written. The characters show a sense of depth, the author is good at writing in tension, and the book doesn’t hand-hold the reader. The ending is dark and terrifying, but also appropriate to the story – and one of the reasons this book didn’t stray too far into the ridiculous side of erotica. I think the author did a really good job on the story.

As I said, this book isn’t going to be for everyone – but if you’re looking for a dark take on a paranormal erotic story, this is a good one. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Book Review: Nothing Stays In Vegas

cover-review-nothing stays in vegasTitle: Nothing Stays In Vegas [Vegas Series 1]

Author: Elena Aitken

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Lexi Titan has mastered the art of pretending everything’s fine. After all, how else could she ignore the fact that her husband is never home, her son barely knows him and the last time she had sex, well, who can remember? With her life crumbling, the last thing she wants to do is go on a trip, especially back to Vegas; a city full of glitz, excess, and Leo, the man she’s spent the last six years trying to forget. But when her best friend announces she’s getting married, Lexi doesn’t have a choice. Besides, it’s ridiculous to avoid an entire city because of one guy. Even if he is the father of your child. Face to face with memories of the past and the gorgeous man who started it all, Lexi can no longer deny the truth to anyone, especially Leo. But honesty will come at a price, and Lexi must decide if she’s willing to take that risk. And what exactly will she tell her husband? Because as she now knows, NOTHING STAYS IN VEGAS.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Nothing Stays In Vegas by Elena Aitken is a delicious contemporary romance filled with brazen attraction, misunderstandings, and the gaudy lights of Las Vegas. The story is both sexy, heartwarming, and filled with spunk. I loved the characters, the clear, fast-paced narrative, and the heart-wrenching romance.

On the technical side of things, there were very few typos or editing errors, and the few that I spotted were not enough to detract from the story. If you like contemporary romances with a bit of sizzle to them, I highly recommend you give this book a try. I will definitely be looking for more books by this author in the future.

Book Review: Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board

cover-review-light as a feather, stiff as a boardTitle: Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board [Weeping Willow High 1]

Author: Zoe Aarsen

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Paranormal, Horror, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

McKenna Brady thinks her junior year of high school is going to be the best ever when she’s welcomed into the elite group of popular girls at Weeping Willow High School led by blond, gorgeous Olivia Richmond. Prior to junior year, McKenna was known in her small town as the girl whose twin sister died in a tragic house fire, and she’s overjoyed at the prospect of redefining her identity. She has a date to the Homecoming dance with Olivia’s handsome older brother, and a good chance of being elected to student council. For the first time since McKenna’s parents divorced, things are looking up.

But everything changes the night of Olivia’s Sweet Sixteen sleepover birthday party. Violet, the shy, mysterious new girl in town, suggests that the girls play a scary game called Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board, during which Violet makes up elaborate stories about the future ways in which beautiful Olivia, brassy Candace, and athletic Mischa will die. The game unsettles McKenna because she’s already escaped death once in her life, but she doesn’t want to ruin her friends’ fun. It’s only a game, she reminds herself.

But it doesn’t seem like a harmless game a week later when Olivia dies unexpectedly in a violent car crash, exactly as Violet predicted. And something begins haunting McKenna’s bedroom at night, leaving her clues that all seem to point to Violet. McKenna enlists the help of her cute next-door neighbor Trey in finding out exactly what kind of curse Violet has put on all of the popular girls in the junior class. As Violet rises to popularity and seemingly steps into the life Olivia left unfinished, McKenna and Trey know they only have a limited amount of time to bring an end to Violet’s game before more lives are lost.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board by Zoe Aarsen was a chilling tale of vengeance and greed reaching forth from the afterlife to wreak havoc on a a small town as an unwitting group of teen girls become pawns in a plot from beyond the grave.

The story was well written and boasted a cast of characters both unique and complex. I thoroughly enjoyed this gripping tale would would recommend it to any reader looking for a solid supernatural thriller with strong characterization and a well-constructed plot.

Book Review: Lost Girl

cover-review-lost girlTitle: Lost Girl [The Neverwood Chronicles 1]

Author: Chanda Hahn

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Thriller, Adventure, Science Fiction, Paranormal

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Wendy doesn’t remember anything about Neverland—or the experiments done on her there as a child. Seven years later, all she wants is a normal life, but shape-shifting shadows plague her dreams and turn her life into a waking nightmare. When the shadows attack at a football game and a boy disappears right in front of her, she realizes these wraith-like shadows are real. They’re not just haunting—they’re hunting.

A mysterious boy named Peter, his foul-mouthed sidekick, and a band of misfit boys intervene before Wendy faces a similar fate. But can they trust Wendy enough to take her to Neverwood Academy and reveal all of their hidden secrets when she’s hiding a secret of her own, or will the dreaded Red Skulls find her and drag her back to Neverland?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Lost Girl by Chanda Hahn was a familiar story with a science fiction twist that was both delightful and fast paced. The author did an excellent job of taking the well-known children’s story of Peter Pan and twisting it into a face-paced YA Thriller/Romance. There were themes of genetic manipulation, human testing, super-powers, and even a taste of the supernatural.

Technically speaking, the book was well written. At times the repetitive use of character names could come off as a bit overdone, but it was easy to understand why the author chose to do it. The style of the book was easy to follow and understand for teen readers without dumbing it down too much or over-hinting at any of the story twists. There were some surprising twists and turns to the story, and I found the characters complex enough to hold my interest despite their familiarity. The romance was expected, but intriguing once the unfamiliar character of Jax was introduced.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and would certainly consider moving on in the series. I’ll be interested in seeing how this series pans out.

Book Review: American Queen

review-cover-american queenTitle: American Queen [New Camelot Trilogy 1]

Author: Sierra Simone

Genre: Romance, Erotica, BDSM, Ménage, Contemporary

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

It starts with a stolen kiss under an English sky, and it ends with a walk down the aisle. It starts with the President sending his best friend to woo me on his behalf, and it ends with my heart split in two. It starts with buried secrets and dangerous desires…and ends with the three of us bound together with a hateful love sharper than any barbed wire.

My name is Greer Galloway, and I serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States.

This is the story of an American Queen.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I need to learn to read book descriptions—I rarely do. It’s just one of those things as a book reviewer and avid reader, that I just don’t bother. So obviously, I didn’t know what I was getting into when I picked up American Queen by Sierra Simone. All that being said, I still enjoyed this book.

BDSM isn’t my thing. I’m not a huge fan of Ménage’s, and I rather read Romance than Erotica, so when I say that I enjoyed the book, take that as high praise. This book was exceedingly well written. The narrative voice was clear and easy to read. I liked the characters, the world building was rich without being overbearing, and even if the complicated relationship between Maxen, Embry, and Greer wasn’t my cup of tea—I could still appreciate it. I was drawn into the story by the subtly crafted narrative, and I wholeheartedly believed in their love for one another. I rarely run into books so well written that I forget that their subject matter isn’t something I enjoy.

Whether you’re looking for an erotica, something with BDSM, Ménage’s, or you simply want a well-crafted book, I’d recommend you pick this one up. It’s not going to be for everyone—but it’s still a good book. You might be surprised.