Book Review: The Genesis of Evangeline

cover-review-the genesis of evangelineTitle: The Genesis of Evangeline [The Lost Royals Saga 1]

Author: Rachel Jonas

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Evie Callahan is positive there’s something strange going on in Seaton Falls, her new home. The locals are bigger, stronger, and faster than most. That includes Nick, the boy next door who’s become her silver lining in this godforsaken town.

She wants to trust her instincts–about Nick, about what she suspects in Seaton Falls–but rumors of wolves and dragon shifters makes it hard to tell what’s real. With a history of odd dreams and the nagging sense that she’s never belonged, Evie fears she’s losing touch with reality. Her concern only grows when someone who’s haunted these dreams is suddenly tangible… and claims to hold the key to unlocking her true identity.

Finding out her entire life has been a lie is scary enough, but what’s downright terrifying is discovering who she’s destined to become.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

The Genesis of Evangeline by Rachel Jonas was a solid, fast-paced read. I immediately sank into the story and fell in love with the characters. The author did a good job of making the reader empathize with all of the different characters, particularly the love interests. I’m a firm believer that love triangles only work if both choices are equally appealing, and the author managed to pull that off.

The world building, though cryptic in this first installment of the series, hinted at a depth that I look forward to expanding upon in the subsequent books. The characters were authentic and smart – none of the ridiculous choices and actions you find plaguing young adult fiction these days. My only complaint really is that I did run into a handful of spelling errors. That aside, I would easily recommend this book to anyone who enjoys supernatural YA stories. This book was well worth the price for a fully-fleshed out read hinting at a larger saga.

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: The Binding

cover-review-the bindingTitle: The Binding [The Velesi Trilogy 1]

Author: L. Filloon

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Two nights after her eighteenth birthday, Lily is attacked while out jogging, but is saved by Tharin Lunar, a Sidhe prince. When she discovers that her attacker is her own brother, Lucas, who disappeared four years ago, Lily refuses to believe that her brother would truly hurt her and becomes determined to find Lucas and bring him home. Lily finds that Lucas’ disappearance is somehow tied to Tharin; so when he informs her that she is his betrothed and must return with him to Velesi, fulfill a treaty between their families and unite the two strongest clans through their marriage, Lily agrees. However, she’s not going to Velesi for a wedding, but to bring home her only family, Lucas.

On their journey to the borders of Velesi, the realm of the Thirteen Clans, they’re pursued by a Sidhe assassin group call the Ange, meet with an ogre crime lord that ends badly, deal with a sleazy troll motel manager, and when they discover that there’s a bounty on their heads, they must keep one step ahead of every assassin, bounty hunter and low-life criminal in Velesi.

Protecting Lily has become the biggest challenge of Tharin’s life. Lucky for him he has help in the form of his twin brother, Tolan, Lily’s best friend Julia and his three bodyguard cousins.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Although I liked the overall premise of The Binding by L. Filloon and for the most part, I enjoyed reading it, the book wasn’t without its faults.

The book was easy to read and moved at a nice pace but contained a multitude of misspellings and tense issues. The errors were obvious and I stumbled a few times as I read on. It was clear that the book lacked a solid editor.

The characters, though fun and likable, lacked a real sense of depth – they all read about the same, and some were completely unnecessary. The character Julia, the main female’’ lead’s best friend, was one of these. She was an over-written side character with an exceptionally rough past that instantly falls in love with the second prince. It was unbelievable cliché and needless to have her in the story, and I spent more time rolling my eyes at her character structure than I did enjoying her sass.

Overall, yes, I was entertained, but the book was just okay. I feel like a good editor and some constructive time spent re-working the characters wouldn’t go amiss.

Book Review: Revenant

cover-review-revenantTitle: Revenant [The Apparition Trilogy 2]

Author: Dylan White

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

After everything Jade has been through, Sean wants to make life as normal as possible for her. But being in love with a ghost is anything but normal. The threat of Feeders has grown worse. Despite Sean’s efforts to keep Jade safe, he might not be able to help her anymore. When Ray senses a dark spirit has descended on the house, he will do anything to dispel it. And that could mean eliminating Sean, as well …

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Like the previous book in the series, I am torn on giving Revenant by Dylan White a rating. On the one hand, I like the characters, the romance, and the plot. However, I am not a fan of the narrative voice, the omnipotent 3rd person point of view, or the penchant the author seems to have for giving the reader backstory through little asides. I find the narrative voice distancing to the reader, and I am constantly pulled away from the characters by the frequent head hopping.

I did spot less glaring typos and textual errors in this installment, which is a plus, but I also feel like I didn’t learn anything new. Most of the drama of the plot revolved around ghosts interrupting the main character’s life, but for the most part, it was the same old thing. We got very little new information regarding Sean or his place in the afterlife. It was a bit frustrating to close the second book feeling like little had been gained.

Overall, the book was okay. There are parts of it I liked, and parts of it I didn’t. I was entertained for a few short hours, and I guess that’s what matters.

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: Afterlife Academy

cover-review-afterlife academyTitle: Afterlife Academy

Author: Jaimie Admans

Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Even being dead isn’t enough to get you out of maths class.

Dying wasn’t on sixteen-year-old Riley Richardson’s to-do list. And now, not only is she dead, but she’s stuck in a perpetual high school nightmare. Worse still, she’s stuck there with the geekiest, most annoying boy in the history of the world, ever.

In a school where the geeks are popular and just about everything is wrong, Riley has become an outcast. She begins a desperate quest to get back home, but her once-perfect life starts to unravel into something not nearly as great as she thought it was. And maybe death isn’t really that bad after all…

Welcome to Afterlife Academy, where horns are the norm, the microwave is more intelligent than the teachers, and the pumpkins have a taste for blood.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

To be honest, I liked Afterlife Academy by Jaimie Admans more than I thought I would when I first opened up the cover. The main character, Riley, was rather difficult to like at first. She was a bully, sarcastic, quick-tempered, and most definitely in denial. She was the kind of girl you love to hate – because we’ve all met Riley Richardson. She’s the popular girl that everyone looks up to and despises in equal parts. As the story wore on, however, I learned that there was a lot more to Riley. She was capable of introspection, she was fiercely protective of her friends and those she loves, and while she isn’t always the most down-to-earth, she is strong-willed and determined.

Technically speaking, the book was written decently well. There were a few words that I stumbled over and would normally consider as being used improperly, but because this book was set in Europe, and I am from the US, I will give it the benefit of the doubt—as I’m sure it’s most likely a cultural language difference. Other than that, the narrative was easy to follow, the plot was intriguing, and the shenanigans and colorful world built around the Afterlife Academy were geared perfectly towards the audience. I think for what it is, this worked well – and I had a fun time reading it.   If you like  YA romances with a paranormal twist, this was a fun one to get into, and I recommend it.

Free Fiction Friday #138

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Free Fiction Friday #138! For those of you who are new to this blog, or who may have missed out on the previous Free Fiction Fridays—every Friday I post an article containing 10 fiction e-books that are 100% FREE on Amazon at the time of posting and an additional 5 that are roughly of the same genre, and on sale for less than $5.

I try my best to make sure they are all 4+ stars, have over 40+ reviews, and are 100 pages minimum—so you can have a hand-picked list of the best-of-the-best to choose from and enjoy over the long weekend (while I do more important things, like laundry). I try to switch up the genres every week, and this week our theme is:  Science Fiction & Fantasy!

THE FREE

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THE BARGAINS

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